Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance

Saying Goodbye to my Parents’ House


birds on the wire at 312

We closed on my parents’ old house on Monday and got the last of the stuff out. Besides paperclips, I will never have to buy duct tape again, or screwdrivers, T shirts, pencils, blankets, or coffee mugs just to name a few of the things my house is now full of.

At first I thought I might not cry, being so busy with loading the car. But as we approached the end of the process, I found it hard to breathe. Crying is a good thing and healthy at times, so I did.Β  Intellectually, I knew the house was just a structure, a building, but somehow it felt like I was saying goodbye to my parents and the end of an era. So many important things happened in that house. I lived there through my teen years and into my early twenties. My parent’s were there during the death of my sister in the mid seventies when she was 16.Β  After Mom died in 2008, Dad insisted on staying there by himself until he joined her in 2017.

My husband David was a big help. As we got ready leave for the last time, he said, “We have to decommission this house!” David spent much of his life on the New England coast where old ships were decommissioned to be removed from active service. I’m sure my parent’s house will go through a lot of changes before it returns to active duty. Standing in the front threshold, David said a prayer of thanksgiving for the vessel that served my family well.

It had been drizzling off and on for most of the morning, but the sky opened some clear patches as we carried the last items to the car. Looking up, I noticed four mourning doves perched on the electrical line out front. They seemed to be watching us.

birds on a wire at 312

All four members of my family of origin – my father, mother, and two sisters – have passed away. I wondered if these four doves could be spiritual representatives of my family in heaven.Β  As we finished loading the car, the doves flew away one at a time in the direction we would be driving home.

bird flying away

IMG_E0658 (2)

The last dove to leave seemed like the biggest one. It (he?) lingered for a bit, watching, then finally flew away.

It’s hard to put into words what I felt about the four doves, but I will try. I felt comforted by their presence. I think they were there to tell me that my parents and sisters are no longer confined to that house or this realm. Their spirits are alive, well and flying free! It’s time to move on.

I will carry with me the treasured memories from my parents’ old house and the lessons they taught me into new adventures!


Author: JoAnna

An open minded, tree-hugging Jesus follower, former counselor, and life-long lover of animals, I'm returning to my creative roots and have published my first book: Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again as well as the short version: From Loneliness to Love.

39 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye to my Parents’ House

  1. My heart reaches to comfort yours. Much love and understanding….

  2. Dear JoAnna, what could be more natural than shedding tears when you say good-bye to the place that
    held you all. I am very touched by your husband, David’s , decommissioning prayer. What a beautiful
    thing to do and how comforting.

    I agree with you about the doves. They were there to comfort you. I have experienced a similar event.
    Bless πŸ€—


  3. may your beautiful memory
    stay perched up high
    along with a lifetime
    of office supplies πŸ™‚

  4. Love your words

  5. This is beautiful, JoAnna. I think the doves were sending you a message. It’s hard to leave these places, but I think your husband is right. Time to decommission.

  6. Thanks for sharing this moment, JoAnna. Letting go of a place that has played a vital role in our lives is not easy. I believe that the four doves were messengers from The Other Side, telling you that it’s all okay ❀

  7. Jo Anna this is SO poignant and SO beautiful. So moving. God bless you JoAnna xx

  8. JoAnna, this post brought a lump to my throat. My thoughts are with your own JoAnna, in that I feel strongly these doves represented your family members, a SIGN for you that they were free and like you, they were saying goodbye and also a thank you to you for all you have done. Doves to me a messengers, I found this on the net about the Totem meaning of Doves.. I would say it fits perfectly with your thinking my friend

    ” The dove represents peace of the deepest kind. It soothes and quiets our worried or troubled thoughts, enabling us to find renewal in the silence of the mind. … The dove’s roles as spirit messenger, maternal symbol and liaison impart an inner peace that helps us to go about our lives calmly and with purpose..”

    Much love dear JoAnna.. ❀ enjoy your weekend ❀

    • Thank you so much for this insight, Sue. At first, I didn’t know what to make of the doves, though I knew they were important. Writing this post and reading the comments have helped deepen my understanding. Your affirmation, wisdom and support mean a great deal to me. Much love and blessings to you, Sue. ❀

  9. JoAnna, I don’t think there could be a clearer sign of just what you think the doves meant. Getting “happy” goosebumps thinking about it. You are connected with your loved ones and they won’t be left behind as a memory ❀

  10. What an awesome post!!! This was true serendipity in my humble opinion. Hugs, Marge!

  11. Thank you for sharing!.. home is where the heart is and the home that you knew and loved will always be there in your heart to return to whenever you wish… πŸ™‚

    β€œLife gives us brief moments with another, but sometimes in those brief moments we get memories that last a lifetime, So live that your memories will be part of your happiness.”

    • Always there in my heart and memories that last a lifetime. My memories will be part of my happiness. This is so comforting. Thank you very much!

  12. Wrapping you in much ❀ JoAnna. I feel the doves are a sign and David's prayer. Your loved ones in spirit showing that we flow with change here, yet the heart connections are always there. ❀ ❀

  13. The doves and the clouds were such an apt symbol. My own mother’s house is on the market, but it is not the family home in which I grew up so cannot have the same connotations as for you

    • Thanks for the confirmation about the doves. I imagine it’s hard to put one’s mother’s house on the market even if you didn’t grow up there. But it’s a good thing.

  14. Sweet blessings my friend! May you feel the peace…and freedom that letting go affords! I am so happy for you that this part of the journey has concluded. I love the doces…and I believe absolutely they were the spirit of your family. They were there to let you know that they appreciate the loving care you extended to the home and to the memory of your family of origin. I know that feeling of closure carries with it a little bittersweet feelings. Sending you lots of hugs and understanding. Wishing all good things for you! πŸ’œ

  15. My heart to yours on this one JoAnna, I helped empty and sold my mother’s home 6 years ago, 6 months after she passed, a bit sooner than I wished to, pushed by my sister, but nonetheless it was done. I experienced much of what you expressed feeling in it all, including the tears.

    I absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, believe that the 4 doves were your family. Doves representing loves, 4 representing your 4 beloved family in spirit, watching over you as you experienced the last of the painful journey of saying goodbye, and flying away to show you that their spirits and love, memories and connection to you are not within that house, but with your heart … your spirit. How magical and beautiful for them to appear to you as they did. A cherished experience and moment indeed. πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

  16. Achingly beautiful. Time for the next chapter to begin. Wishing you well!

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