To be, or not to be, a Pelican.

It is two years to the day that we lost the woman who had taught us so much about, perseverance, confidence, strength, laughter, and in her last 12 years with me, love.

There is no question I have felt that love living on and streaming through in ways which most would think are a little “out there”,  but it has gotten me through two years of mourning a loss I may never truly come to terms with.  Do I actually believe my mother is every bird or animal who shows off in front of me? God, no. Do I think there is something more to life than just our bodies withering away and dying? Hell, yes.  Have I witnessed countless examples of ways in which only this mother of mine would try to communicate, if possible?  Absolutely.

So part of it, for me, is based on prior communications with her in our hysterical laughing moments with a glass of wine (or two) in hand, the other is simply a longing to hold onto that very connection we had.   In thinking about this day I thought instead of writing about the many “signs” I’ve had from her, I would celebrate the bird she very specifically said she “was going to come back as”.

Her favorite place on the planet was a spot down in Antigua, where she and my father would spend vacation time.  Us children weren’t allowed to join, this was specifically a time cut out for them to enjoy each other’s company outside of their hectic & demanding world at home.   When her health took a turn and she was able to spend more time down there, she asked if I would come down and stay with her for an extra week after Dad had his time there.  So, he’d head North, and I’d head South.   She didn’t even have to beg me…

The mother-daughter time was indescribable, and as you can imagine our bellies hurt from the constant rolling on the floor (beach in this case) belly laughter.

It didn’t take long for me to notice how she would sit on the beach and gaze at the Pelicans soaring just feet above the water, or high up in the sky.  One day, she turned to me and said, “I’m going to come back as a Pelican”.

“Ok, Mom…”  When I asked why, she went into a beautiful explanation about how Pelicans can “soar for hours above the turquoise sea, with no cares at all…”.  So – I started photographing the Pelicans… they did have a wonderful way about them, and I can now understand her reasoning behind her choice of this particular bird.

Gliding Pelican

Mom also said she wanted her ashes spread in the sea down in their spot in Antigua, so after her funeral the entire family headed down and granted her wishes.  The Pelicans were out in full force, and I was able to get a closer look at them as they’d gracefully glide over our heads.


pelican 2 18 2014 hfp

We all felt their presence in celebration of the life she lived, which made her “final party” an incredibly special and meaningful one.  On the last day before we departed a pair was flying high among the most spectacular clouds, as if the message was to notice the brilliant light shining through.  Either that, or play the game of “this cloud is in the form of…”, and that’s an entirely different blog post saved for another time.


The sadness, for me, was knowing that my days down there would likely not be an ongoing occurrence, and I would miss being able to see the Pelicans soar on a yearly basis.  In a way, I felt as though we were letting her go down there with no place to visit her when we needed to.   Thankfully, I already had that bird connection thing with her, so I felt ok getting back on the plane, but it did feel kind of weird.  This particular photo will always have a special place in my heart:   A lone Pelican soaring out to the sea, into the unknown…


This past February, however, the Pelican mojo was back.  On the boat in Florida visiting my sister-in-law and my (hopefully) future brother-in-law (hint hint if you are reading),  I saw an unmistakable stunning blonde, blue-eyed, Pelican that made me laugh so hard I almost dropped my camera.


 “Hey, is that YOU?!”

I’d never seen one with Yellow feathers on it’s head, and those striking blue eyes were absolutely stunning.  The only thing missing was the pink lipstick (although it looks as though there may have been an attempt, but if you’ve seen Pelican feet you’d know this is not an easy trick).  The show was once again spectacular and my heart was full.

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Was she doing what I thought she was doing in the photo above ?!!  Probably…

On one of the last nights down there I went to catch the sunset, and another beauty showed up oozing  bountiful joy.  I knew then that I would always have a place to come down to watch the Pelicans soar…

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Missing and celebrating you on this day September, 16, 2015. xoxoxox

14 thoughts on “To be, or not to be, a Pelican.

  1. This is full of such love, beauty, humor, tenderness, joy-in-sorrow. What a gift to all of us that you have shared this special bond–and all the wonderful photos that go with it. I especially laughed over the blue-eyed blonde! Thank you, Heidi. 😊❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Susan. Yes, difficult to believe it’s been two years, and I love that you feel connected to her through tis blog. As one of her closest friends said to me today, “I cannot believe this is the norm, but then again, your mom existed way beyond the norm.” She certainly did, and that may be an understatement! 🙂


  2. Oh Heidi…what an incredible tribute to your Mom. She was one of a very rare kind and how proud she would ( must ) be knowing your many talents are flourishing. I love your thoughtful photography! Your sensitive eye captures so many sweet avian stories. Loved your Mom and think she would be a delightful pelican! xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

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