Squirrels, diiiiiings and a cause for celebration! 

Today has been melancholy. Blah. So MONDAY-ish. Maybe it was the return to work after a great day at the beach with dear friends who were visiting from out-of-state. Maybe it was the post-deathversary-grief. (Grief, after all, is the gift that keeps on giving.) Maybe it was that first thing this morning what did I see but the darn tootin’ squirrel scaling my bird feeder. (Well, I showed him. I sprayed more PAM on the pole. Yes, cooking spray. Try to scale that pole now buddy.)

So yeah. Bummer-ville today. But then this afternoon I hear my favorite little diiiiiiinnnnng –that is the noise on my phone when someone likes a post on my blog! It is like a warm-fuzzy snuggle-hug every time I hear it!

It turns out that WordPress was notifying me for a different reason–this popped up!


IT IS MY SECOND WORDPRESS ANNIVERSARY! Ok where is my cotton you guys??

TWO YEARS. Ahh the memories. But wait–I’ve only been posting since November 18th, 2015. What gives?

Remember how I told the story about how on the first deathversary I went to a beach and waxed poetic and got bit by bugs and angry at life and then had an epiphony that I should start this blog?? That day was two years ago to this day! I hit publish – but the blog was secret so nobody saw it.

I continued to write privately for one full year. 

And then, last November...I published it. It took one year plus exactly TWO more months. Baby steps!

Anyway, I love that now on the day after the anniversary of my mom’s passing I have a wordpressversary to ding and cheer me up. 

Thanks for reading, friends. For all the dinnnngs and comments and love. 

~Sarah

  

 
 

 

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Why I Started this Blog

I thought I’d take a moment to welcome you and to share a little bit about why I started Mourning Dove Motherhood.

The real reason sounds slightly crazy, but it is the truth, and I’m a truth-teller. So here it is.

The seeds of this blog came about on the first anniversary of losing my mom (aka “Deathversary”). In typical fashion, I overthought the day and ended up having a slightly hilarious time attempting to mourn my mother on the stinking beaches of sanibel island.

I wanted to make grand sense of it all. Why this suffering. Why this loss? It sure sucked and I was tired of it, damnit!

Well, the universe/aka my dead mother/aka the oneness of the allness responded to me (I warned you it gets weird) and basically was all, “Yes this all sucks and you can be sad but get it TOGETHER WOMAN. You need to write. Write like your life depends on it. Sit. Down. And. Write.”

So I sat down and wrote. (I mean, after all my begging for answers, I wasn’t about to ignore the all-powerful-universe’s advice.)

I drafted dozens of posts on an unpublished blog with no name. I wanted to see exactly what I was going to write about before I put it out into the world.

Well, it turns out I have a lot to say about motherhood and a lot to say about the loss of my mom. A lot of it is funny. Some of it is sad. All of it heals me.

As far as the name of the blog is concerned,  it is a result of my close encounters with a mourning dove, which then led me to read about the symbolism of mourning doves, which made me realize that mourning doves perfectly encapsulate what this blog is about: motherhood and hope after loss.

Hope after loss. Oh yes, and we can’t forget the toddler who pees in the dog bowl. She shows up a lot. She is a feisty, hilarious, loving child and she is constant fodder for my writing.

Welcome and I look forward to sharing with you. (You and the universe, that is.)

P.s. I’m glad you are here. If you are anything like me and spend more time on Facebook than anywhere else, feel free to like the Facebook page to see all the upcoming posts!

One Year After My Mom’s Passing: Overthinking the Deathversary

I’m just going to throw it out there: deathversaries are hard. There is no avoiding the grief that bubbles up. I knew that marking the first year without my mom would be difficult, so I planned a day with nothing to do other than take care of me. Well, that isn’t entirely true. I planned a Day, with a capital “D”.  A magical day of spiritual and emotional significance, that would allow me transcend space and time.  (Or something.)  For this first deathversary I planned to walk to beaches of Sanibel island, collect shells that would forever symbolize this day of hope, healing and renewal, and ponder the meaning of existence.

In retrospect, I should have settled for date with Netflix, some chocolate, and a trashy magazine. But that would have been too simple.

The day started promisingly enough. I woke to rain that stopped in the early morning. This made me giddy, since I’d heard that shelling conditions are ideal after a storm.

Now, never having shelled after a storm I have no idea if what I encountered that day was typical. If it was typical, God bless the hardcore shellers because they have earned every last stinking shell they find.

Let me emphasize the word stinking.

I arrived to my secret shelling spot that day, visions of whole conch shells dancing in my head. Instead, I found piles and piles of knobby, gnarly mussels. Tangled in seaweed. With the occasional piece of trash. I should clarify: these were piles of knotty, gnarly, rotting mussels. As far as the eye could see.

A wiser person might have shrugged it off, headed straight back to the car, and driven home. Not I. I carried on like a soldier. Somewhere, buried in the depth of rotting mussel flesh I was determined find my pearl.

Now, you might be thinking, Ok, the stink smell doesn’t sound ideal. But the shells! Glory be, I bet you found some great shells!

You would be sorely mistaken. I spent an hour walking the beach and found nothing more than some cats paws and a lot of jingle shells. These are rinky, dinky little shells. Child’s play.

I was disheartened, to say the least. The magical day was escaping me but it only made me even more upset. I didn’t feel peaceful, serene or contemplative. Hell, I wasn’t even feeling grief. I simply felt cranky and was being bitten alive by the bugs there were attracted to the stinking pile of mussels.

I found myself alone on a stretch of beach. I hadn’t really felt a connection to my mom all morning. I sat down and I said, mom, I want you to be with me.

She said, I am, I’m always with you.

(What likely remained unsaid by her was “…but why on earth did you pick a smelly beach as the place for us to hang out?!”)

Anyway, I frowned at the stinky piles of shells.

Stop looking for a special shell, she told me. You don’t need it to remember this day. Do you know how much you are loved?

At this point, I played along: How much am I loved, mom?

I absentmindedly picked up a huge pen shell that had hundreds of little gnarly barnacles on it.

You see all those barnacles – that is how many people love you – and even MORE. So many people love you, you can’t even begin to imagine. We are all rooting you on.

I felt the wave of love and I felt the urgency in my mom’s voice.

An hour after walking the stinky beach, and hour after being bitten by bugs, I finally felt anger. Anger at the injustice of it all. How it wasn’t fair that I didn’t have my mom to help me become a mom, and that my daughter didn’t have my mother to become her grandmother.

She said, I know, honey. It isn’t fair. You have had your share of injustices.

But. Yes, there was a but.

“But you know what you need to do.”

She was practically yelling now. I mean, it was like I was getting a stern lecture from across the deep abyss.

Sarah, you get your butt down and write. Write like your life depended on it.

I took the pen shell, walked back to the car, and later that night created this blog.* I went to the beach that day looking for a pity party. I looked for answers or deep meaning. But really, I knew in my heart that moving forward I had to write. The time of quiet, introverted grieving was over.

It has been a difficult year. I survived tough storms and I came out a little rough for the wear. It wasn’t the year of the shiny conch. It was the year of the gnarled, weathered pen shell–and let’s be honest, smelly shell– that washed ashore after the storm, holding reminders of love from many. A little rough for the wear but fully intact.

*(Ok, by create I mean “start drafting blog posts that will sit on my computer, unpublished for a year.” See this.)