For this week’s Monday Mourning Widow Series post, I have a story to share that happened a few weeks ago. I originally shared it on my personal Facebook page in a much more crude form, but I cleaned it up and decided to post it here!
A few weeks ago, something incredibly beautiful and almost unbelievable happened to the kids and me.
It was Thursday, August 7, which happened to be the the day after the “1-year mark” since Chaz’s death.
Thursday is one my days off from work, so I am home with the kids. And even though the day before had been horrible for me, we were back to our usual routine.
This meant waking up, having breakfast, cleaning up, getting dressed, and heading outside to play until lunchtime.
After going outside, we took a little walk around the neighborhood in our “new-to-us” wagon. It’s a Step 2 Choo-Choo Wagon, so all 3 kids can fit in it. They love it, but I think I love it more! 🙂
At the end of our walk, I pulled them in the wagon to our swingset in the backyard. While I was pushing all 3 kids on the swings, a butterfly started flying around us. After a minute or 2, it landed near the swingset, on the border of our yard and our neighbor’s.
I tend to already take notice of butterflies, just because of the many stories I’ve heard regarding them and people in situations similar to mine. When it landed, I immediately thought it was strange behavior for a butterfly, and my thoughts began to race.
The kids and I kept an eye on the butterfly and I continued to push them on the swings. It remained in the same area as where it landed, maybe flapping it’s wings a little bit, or taking a few steps. This lead me to think that it must be hurt, which helped me justify why it wasn’t flying away. Of course, I wanted to take a closer look at it. But I was also really nervous about what would happen if I did.
You see, just 2 days before this, I had read this incredible story written by Christina Wood titled On Wings of Love. (In my quick Googling, this is the only place I could find the story written that I could link to. I apologize that I don’t have the original source, but please know that I am still searching for it. If you happen to know it, please let me know!)
The story is about a man who lost his daughter that loved butterflies. As life support was pulled from her, a butterfly landed next to him, it crawled on to his finger, and he was able to carry it into his home, and back outside. It stayed with him for a long time. Even after trying to let it go, it still stayed nearby. It wasn’t until he told the the butterfly that it was OK to go, that it finally flew away.
This story is what made me apprehensive about approaching the butterfly. A part of me was wondering, “What if it flies away? How will I feel?!” and another party of me thought, “But what if it doesn’t?”
I finally told the kids I was going to check on “Mr. Butterfly.” With all 3 of them watching, I approached it until I was only about 2 feet away, and it still hadn’t flown away.
Now my thoughts were really racing. With the other story so fresh in my mind, I figured I just needed to go for it. I began by asking Mr Butterfly if he was hurt, and I reached my hand to see if would walk onto my finger. But with my hand only inches away, I had to stop.
Unfortunately, I have an incredible fear of bugs. Any bug. Big or small. Harmless or harmful. They absolutely terrify me.
And this butterfly was a little too much “bug” for me to handle.
I squealed as my finger got closer to it, and I told Mr. Butterfly I just could NOT do it. It was a bug, and despite everything that was going on, I couldn’t forget that fact and allow it onto my hand.
I’m sure this entire series of events was beginning to look comical to anyone who may have been witnessing it. There I was, squatting down near the ground with my arm extended, conversing with a bug. All the while, the kids are in their swings, which are no longer moving, staring at their “crazy mother!”
After admitting my fear of the butterfly, and realizing how silly I must have looked, I returned to kids and began pushing them on the swings again.
But I continued to keep an eye on the butterfly. I also continued to talk about it with the kids. We wondered aloud why the butterfly was still hanging out with us. I was still contemplating if it was hurt, and the kids suggested it needed an ice pack and a band-aid. We watched as it made a few short flights around the edge of the yard, but it always came back to land in the same general area.
After a few minutes, I decided to find something for it to crawl on to so I didn’t have to actually touch the butterfly. I grabbed a woodchip from our swing-set area and brought it near the butterfly. But it was just not long enough, and my fingers still seemed way too close.
I then tried a small piece of cardboard that I found nearby. I again began talking to Mr. Butterfly. I asked it to crawl on to the cardboard so I could bring it over to see the kids. The cardboard was actually touching the butterfly, and it still didn’t fly away. But it also wasn’t climbing on. It looked like it was trying, flapping and hopping a little, but it just couldn’t seem to manage it.
This further convinced me that it was hurt. I again told myself to stop being silly. I left the cardboard there though, just in case… And I returned to pushing the kids on the swings.
But the butterfly remained where it was, not crawling onto the cardboard, but also not flying away.
I finally had the idea to bring the kids to the butterfly instead. I asked them if they wanted to go see it, and the girls immediately told me “No!” I had already admitted to them that I was a little scared of it, so of course this made them fearful too.
After a minute of persuading, Charlotte volunteered to go see it, as long as I carried her the entire time. I picked her up out of the swing, and together, we approached the butterfly. As we stood near it, I had Charlotte say “Hi Mr. Butterfly.” We talked about the color of it’s wings and what they looked like. We watched it hop and flutter a little bit. And then I had her wave and say “Bye-bye Mr. Butterfly.”
I brought her back to her swing, and repeated the same process with Will. He was slightly more courageous and we were able to get even closer to the butterfly. Will even tried reaching out for it. It flapped it’s wings a little bit, but it did not fly away.
Lastly, Violet had her turn to see Mr. Butterfly.
Because I have a mind that prefers a “concrete world” (in other words, I prefer hard evidence as proof to explain specific things), I was now almost positive that the butterfly was hurt. The only other option I had in my head was that it was eating something, as I had no idea what butterflies actually eat.
After each kid had a chance to see Mr. Butterfly, we resumed playing on the swingset. But it was STILL hanging out with us. And I was STILL talking about it with the kids. I couldn’t help it.
I told the kids that I wished I had my camera to take a picture of the butterfly. Something strange was happening, and I wanted to capture it in a picture.
I figured it couldn’t hurt to just go inside and grab my camera. I again spoke out loud and said, “Mr. Butterfly, stay there. I’m going to get my camera to take a picture of you. We’ll be right back.”
I did not really expect it to be there when we got back. The kids were reluctant to leave the swing set, so it took us a while to get in to the house and grab the camera. I’d estimate we were gone about 5 minutes.
When we walked back to the swing set, guess who was still there? Mr. Butterfly!
Now I was definitely more than a little freaked out.
I snapped a bunch of pictures as it hopped on the ground and flew in a few circles around us. It never flew far, so I still believed it was hurt.
After I took my last picture, I said aloud, ” Ok, I think that’s enough pictures.”
And then Mr. Butterfly just flew away! I watched it take off and fly through all of our neighbors’ backyards until I couldn’t see it anymore.
During the photo session, I had basically been ignoring the kids, who were playing around me in the backyard. By that time, they were climbing back in to our wagon, ready to be pulled to the front yard.
I was just in a daze, shaking, and half-crying. I was absolutely flabbergasted at what just happened.
As I began to pull the kids up the hill in our backyard to head up front, Mr. Butterfly came back for another quick visit. It flew in one circle around us, and then took off until I again couldn’t see it.
It was honestly the craziest, most unbelievable thing that has happened to me since Chaz passed away. I’m such a rational thinker that I have a hard time wrapping my head around the event. A part of my clearly sees that this obviously had some meaning to it. But another part of me can’t help but think it was just coincidental.
Of course, either way, I’ll never be able to know for sure… And that is what is hardest for me.
And that’s a little bit from Me Plus 3 TODAY!
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