JoAnn Whorley

Chapter Founder and First Leader

There is a song that has a line in it that says,

On the wings
of a snow white dove
he sent his pure sweet love,
sent down from above
on the wings of a dove.”

It was the first of June and all over the USA people were looking forward to warmer days and summer. In Florida it is was the beginning of our “rainy” season and I don’t know what it is about days of rain that make me feel on edge.

I kept going to the door to see if there was a sign of the rain letting up. There was a dead palm tree in my front yard and I was planning to have it removed but there was some kind of a vine growing on it and it looked kind of pretty. I had noticed that a pair of doves had a nest under the vines so I decided to wait to have it removed. All the rain and wind proved to be too much for the old dead palm tree and that day when I looked out I saw that the tree had fallen over.

I watched the pair of doves sitting on the downed tree. They were cooing a different sound that when they are mating, or just communicating with each other. It was a low deeper sound and they were going back and forth and up and down the tree stump.

After the rain stopped, I went out to inspect the tree and saw two little white eggs on the ground cracked!

A week after the tree had been removed, the pair of doves were still coming back to where the tree was, cooing; some times the male was not with the female but he was on the house top, like he was giving her space. Every day they were here—on the roof top, on the ground, in the hole where the tree was.

This does confirm that in all things there is a time to grieve. I don’t know how long it will take for the doves to go through the death of their babies, but I am sure in “time” they will survive and maybe in this story you’ll find hope and know it takes time to survive the loss of your child.

To give someone a “dove” it is to offer peace, love, calmness, stillness.

This was near the time in June when my daughter Eraina had her accident. Was this a sign from above, coming to me on the wings of a dove?

My mother is with Eraina and with my son Joe. Her name is “Dovie” and Eraina’s name has “rain” in it.

I am always looking and listening for a sign…

-JoAnn Whorley

When JoAnn left us in July of 2008, one of our chapter members wrote the following:

Our Dearest Joann:

Where do we begin?

Your life was filled with so much joy, happiness, love, tragedy and sorrow. Through it all, your dignity and strong convictions allowed you to continue on in this world with such grace and compassion.

You chose a path dedicating your life to The Compassionate Friends, helping families through the unthinkable; the death of a child.

Day in and day out you opened your heart; helping families whom otherwise would never have believed that they had the strength to continue after such tragedy and loss. Day or night you were always available to us and ready to listen. You are the person who always made us feel safe, loved and with whom we could always be honest.

Through you, many families are going on. Although we will never be the same, all of your love and support has encouraged us to live our lives as best we can.

Your hard work and dedication to The Compassionate Friends will not end here. It continues on through all of us who love and respect you. It will be hard without your love, strength, caring and support, but we will carry on as best as we can.

We will always love and miss you. Please watch over us and our families like you have always done.

God chose you and you did the job well.

multi color butterflies