By Bill Fox/Columnist
My younger brother Brian passed away of cancer in California on March 20, 2016. He had no family there and another brother and myself had to go to California and settle his estate including emptying his house and putting it up for sale.
As part of a memorial service, my wife suggested I get this particular wonderful picture of him, holding his dog, Duke. That photo hung in my parents’ home in Wilmot Creek.
Now my mom had died a few years earlier and my dad at the time was hospitalized, so my wife and I went to get the photo. On pulling into my dad’s driveway, I noticed two mourning doves on his porch. I don’t recall ever seeing mourning doves there before. One was larger, and the other smaller.
Now my brother had not talked to my mom for the last four to five years of my mom’s life. No one knew exactly why. Regardless, we got the photo and got home and I started thinking about those two doves. It occurred to me afterwards that perhaps the larger dove might have been the spirit of my brother and the smaller one my mom.
Maybe that was just wishful thinking, but now I sensed that my mom and brother were reunited together in Heaven and maybe the mourning doves were a sign of that. Up until that point I also thought that the doves were called “morning doves,” never realizing before that “mourning” was the correct spelling for these doves…hmmm.
So fast-forward to this past March 20. Every morning my wife and I have our quiet time while drinking our coffee. Both of us have little booklets we read with daily reflections, and we both have memorial cards of deceased relatives. My brother’s card has his picture with his dog, and a prayer on the back.
That morning my wife reminded me that it was the third anniversary of my brother’s death. I had forgotten that date.
Finally, as part of my routine, I eventually got around to reading my brother’s memorial card. At that exact instant as I was reading the prayer on the back of his card, I heard the cooing sound from our balcony.
I got up from my chair. On our balcony railing was a mourning dove. I had not seen one there this year, and have no seen one since in the three weeks that have passed. Too much of a coincidence for me not to believe in some way the spirit of my brother was visiting within that dove. The prayer on the back of my brother’s card reads:
As long as hearts remember
As long as hearts still care,
We never part with those we love,
They are with us everywhere.
So many of our precious moments
Of those we hold so dear,
Bring Peace and Comfort to us now,
And keep our loved one near.
So I believe my loved one was visiting that morning. I hope you find that prayer appropriate if you ever have to find a memorial prayer for a loved one. We never had a memorial card for my mom, but after my dad passed, a few months after my brother, I arranged for a memorial card with both of their pictures on one side and this prayer on the back of their card:
When you awaken in the mornings hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds
in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not
there, I did not die.
I have related the story of the doves to many friends. I even took a picture of the mourning dove and put it on my Facebook page along with the story. I received responses from people who also had “spiritual” experiences with things that cardinals or butterflies, after the passing of loved ones.
Perhaps you have had such an experience and wouldn’t mind sharing it with me at Bdfox@rogers.com.