A Visit from Ernie

My father, Ernie, was “tall dark and handsome,” at the height of 6’5” with jet black, wavy hair.  He was a man of few words, an engineer by trade, and meticulously perfectionistic by nature. In other words, the polar opposite of me! I must have been such an anomaly for my parents, as they were both quiet, gentle, detail-oriented personalities. I know there were times when they wondered where I came from 😊, this daughter with the strong, decisive, direct, “center-of-attention” personality type who belied their efforts to remain under-the-radar. The analytical nature of my dad kept him thinking a lot, and only speaking when he had some sort of humorous or remarkable thing to say; he was great at teasing and making people laugh. However, when he spoke or performed, I remembered it because it was so seldom. I remember vividly how my dad could make a beautiful and completely realistic mourning dove call. My dad always seemed so funny, calm, and peaceful to me, even though he must have had a stressful existence, succumbing to a heart attack at the youthful age of 58 years. 

These memories were so clear yesterday, after a lengthy visit from a beautiful mourning dove. He arrived in the morning and stayed with us through the early evening, roosting in our trees and on our deck railing. He cooed the beautiful “mourning dove” call that always makes me think of my dad. I felt like Ernie had paid me a visit! 


This visit is not a normal occurrence, so I was naturally moved to research the meaning of a visit from the mourning dove. I found several messages there.  First, “Beyond their sorrowful song is a message of life, hope, renewal, and peace.” A further look reveals the following advice: “The mourning dove requests that you remain peaceful and as calm as possible during any present transitions. The mourning dove requests that you laugh often and get out as much as possible or go within as much as possible. The mourning dove’s message is, this too, shall pass.” 

WOW. I am paying attention to this message. I am slowly realizing this crisis is looming much longer than originally thought. Remaining peaceful and calm, while going within is meaningful for me.

As I look within, I see that my adaptation to this crisis has been slow and is still occurring. I recognize that phases of the crisis for me have resembled the stages of grief. There is much grief in what we have lost and it’s important to remember what we’re all experiencing. A reminder from Kubler-Ross/Kessler: “The 5 stages of grief and loss are: 1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance. People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them.”

As I realize that this crisis will not be over in 8 weeks as originally thought, I’m bouncing around between “bargaining,” “depression,” and “acceptance!”  And, when it comes to “isolation,” working remotely certainly feels like isolation for a raging extrovert like me. I miss being together with people. While video meetings are a great substitute for connecting with our business associates, I’m ready for handshakes and hugs!

I think if Ernie were here with me today, he’d be telling me exactly what the mourning dove message said: Calm down and be peaceful. Laugh often. Go within. And most importantly, in times of extreme worry and stress, remember that “this too shall pass.”

My hope is that we can all remember calm, patience, and kindness during this time of stress. In our small business, we continue to put one foot in front of the other every day, trusting that things will recover soon. We know that our “Super Hero” efforts to help others will be rewarded on the other side of this pandemic. Thanks, Ernie.