In 2008, my mother, who lived in Florida, developed Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma for the third time. She had won two fights against cancer previously. Our family was hoping that she would never encounter this dreadful disease again, but it came back in 2008 with a vengeance. She was diagnosed with a very advanced cancer and, quite quickly, became very ill. I flew home in May to help my siblings care for our dear Mother in her last days at home.
As I was living in Seattle area, I had to book an airline ticket to fly home to Florida. I boarded the plane and set out for the long ride. I sat next to the window of the plane and tried to read. You can imagine the emotions that went through my head. About thirty minutes before landing, I put my book down and looked out the window of the plane. My Mother and I were very close. She was, in fact, my very best friend. Emotions welled up in me as I gazed out the window and thought, "How can I ever live without my mother?" Immediately thereafter, a strong thought filled my head. It was like a voice inside telling me, "Your Mother will be like a butterfly. Her body will whither, like a cocoon. But, from that cocoon will emerge her soul. It will fly away like the butterfly. Your Mother will be living but you will not be able to see her." This voice or thought gave me some comfort. I thought to myself, "Yes. This will be like my Mother residing in Florida and me in Washington. Because she was a caretaker to my Father, she had not been able to travel to visit me yet in the Seattle area. But, she knew that I was living, fine and having experiences even though she could not see me and had never been to Washington State before." I felt, somehow, a sense of comfort from what had just transpired. I wanted to document it and grabbed my book that I had been reading and wrote it all down on the last page of the book which was blank.
The plane was landing, and I gathered my things and rushed off to meet my step-daughter who was waiting for me at passenger pickup at the airport. I loaded my bags into her vehicle and climbed into the passenger seat. After we were comfortably seated, my step-daughter handed me a small gift-bag. I opened the bag and removed her gift to me from the tissue paper. You can imagine my surprise to find that my gift was a beautiful bracelet. Featured very prominently on that bracelet was a very large butterfly. This butterfly bracelet was all the confirmation I needed that this was a message to me from God. I knew this message was more than just a thought. It was a message to heal my heart and to help me cope with the very hard experiences that were ahead of me. I told my step-daughter about what had just happened to me on the plane and, she too, was very surprised.
Over the next few days, the butterfly kept emerging in different forms. I went to the local grocery to buy some items for my mother. As most people do, I simply grabbed the very first cart at the store-- the one next in line to be pulled out. As I was pushing the cart, I noticed that someone had put a very large butterfly sticker in the middle of the handle of the cart. What were my chances of getting this buggy? There were butterflies on the outfit of the first Hospice volunteer that came to our home. It began to be hard for me to deny that this was definitely a message meant to be heard. Sadly, my Mother passed away on June 1, 2008, with my sister and I at her side. There were other loved ones there as well. After her service and several days in Florida, I went to the airport to begin my flight back to Seattle. I took my suitcase and headed to the ticket-line. I took my place in line and, as I stood there, I glanced at the young woman ahead of me. She had short hair, and there on the back of her neck was a tattoo. The tattoo was of two butterflies. Coincidence or message? In my heart, I fully believe that this was a message from a higher being.
Little did I know that two months later, I would be heading back to help care for my Father. I mentioned earlier that my mother was his caretaker. He had developed Parkinson's Disease while I was still living in Florida. After several years with Parkinson's, my Father was in his last stages. He passed away two months after my Mother in August of 2008.
My Father had been a very active person before his parkinsons. He had fished his entire life and had such a love of nature. After he died, we noted that in several of his journals, he had referred to a good day fishing on the St. John's River as a "Bluebird Day" and noted how many fish he had caught. Bluebirds have always been associated with happiness. "It was a bluebird day!" quickly became a phrase that my sister and I started using to describe a happy experience.
When thinking of a name for a blog, I immediately thought of butterflies. I wanted to be able to share with others the message that was given to me. This message has brought peace to my soul at times that I have really missed my parents. The day before I started my blog, I bought a little book at my local bookstore. There, featured on the cover of the book, is the Bluebird of Happiness and a butterfly. Glancing at this book, I knew that Bluebirds and Butterflies was the only name for my blog. Sadly, we all lose people that we love. It is a very hard to lose someone you love and learn to live without them present in your life. My hope is that you will share the story of the butterfly with someone who needs to heal a sad heart. May this story touch those who need healing in a very special way and bring them peace and may they again experience "bluebird days."
My blog is not a story about losing people you love. It is about the journey of healing and life. It is about sharing things that have brought joy and beauty to my life. It is about the rediscovery of happiness and life. May your life be full of bluebirds and butterflies! Have a wonderful day!