Nature’s Forgiving Spirit on Delicate Wings

in #storytelling5 years ago

image from Pixabay

It has been just under a year now that Oliver and I visited the Butterfly House in Durham. I took him to continue a tradition that my sister and I started back in 2002 after our mother died.

Rhonda and I stayed in the basement dormitory at UNC Burn Center, because the fire Mama caused burned my house to the ground and there was nowhere else for us to stay and still be close to her.

The doctors expected her to go at any time. Mama had severe third-degree burns all over her body and a lot of lung damage. So, Rhonda and I were prisoners of the hospital until she passed. Mama managed to hold on another week. But, with each passing day, she started looking less like a human and more like a giant worm.

As soon as she died, I wanted to run, escape from the hospital. My instinct was to go to the Butterfly House at the Museum of Science, not far from the hospital. I wanted to go there because it was the most serene place I had ever experienced, and after everything we had been through I really needed a pleasant environment. So, I fled to the Butterfly House and I took my sister with me.

Our timing couldn’t have been better. Shortly after we arrived, a butterfly release sent all kinds of beautiful butterflies out among the human visitors. Many of them landed on several of the house guests, including Rhonda and me. It was good to see delight on her face for a change.

The release guide stated that this was the most social group of butterflies he had ever seen. I immediately and instinctually responded; “That’s because they have some of my mother’s soul in them.” Rhonda nodded in agreement, stating; “Yes. Mama was always a social butterfly.”

Our mother’s death took a toll on both of us in various ways. Rhonda went back to California and struggled with chronic depression. I took Family Medical Leave from my job so I could spend time with her there. After my Family Medical Leave expired, my boss denied my request for an extension, so I wound up losing my job.

I returned to North Carolina and found another job, but the ties holding me there just weren’t as strong as before. With all of my possessions destroyed in the fire, and no benefits with the new job, I decided to pack up and journey westward to be closer to my sister.

My faithful sidekick Rudy and I set off to make our way across America in March of 2003. In early spring, while walking along the main road in Taos, New Mexico, I thought of Mama, and at that very moment a little yellow butterfly appeared from amidst the sage, weeds and rocks. I thought yellow was the perfect color. Yellow had long been used as a way of describing cowards, and my mother had always been a coward.

Rudy and I eventually migrated to Mesa, Arizona. As Mother’s Day was approaching, it seemed much too pervasive and even invasive - everyone was focused on advertising Mother’s Day events. So I escaped to Old Tuscan Studios, only to be greeted by a wildly enthusiastic little yellow butterfly in the parking lot!

I yelled at that butterfly. Under no uncertain terms, I commanded it to go away and leave me alone. The pain of being reminded of my mother was just too much to bear.

From that moment on, I saw no more butterflies for years. I honestly didn’t count them, but if you know me, I’m inclined to say three years passed, and think that is pretty accurate.

After a while, my heart was filled with regret for incidentally banishing butterflies from my life. I begged nature for forgiveness. I asked the butterflies to return to me. I expressed my sorrow honestly and openly, apologizing for my nasty attitude with the little yellow butterfly in Tuscan.

I eventually moved back to North Carolina and bought a house. I turned my yard into a giant welcome mat, complete with butterfly bushes, azaleas, hydrangea, roses, lilies, hibiscus, mallows, dill and butterfly weeds.

And the butterflies did slowly come back to me! I was forgiven. I especially enjoyed seeing a few of them flutter about when I went outside near the giant butterfly bush.

Late last September when Oliver came home from Germany, he found Rhonda lying on the bathroom floor. She had died peacefully the day before. It just made sense to take him to the Butterfly House. He knew it was a special place for her, and had always meant to go. We waited for the release and were pleased when a sweet butterfly spent time with him.

It was up to both of us to decide how we wanted to pay respect to her, so I asked him about having wild flower seed packets for the guests that attended the ceremony. Rhonda’s nickname had been “Wild Child,” so Oliver immediately liked the idea. A friend made the packets, with a floral design which included purple flowers and a purple butterfly. Purple was her favorite color.

Early this spring I sprinkled some of the wild flower seeds on my front lawn and in the back yard, but honestly didn’t see that many flowers develop from those seeds. Oliver did however enjoy a voluntary lawn weed that filled his yard with little purple flowers.

At my house, this season was like no other before, with a wonderful bonanza of butterflies floating by my windows, feasting on the butterfly bushes and fluttering between the hibiscus and the lilies.

Yellow butterfly having a drink from hibiscus.

What I saw dancing about on the light breeze the most were little yellow butterflies.

I have previously written a story about the little yellow butterfly. If you wish to read it you can find part one here.

Photos were taken with an iPhone,
and are my own.

gif by gerber

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I’ve often heard that a butterfly brings greetings from a loved one who has passed.

Thanks for sharing your heart, Cindy. Blessings my dear. 💕

I’ve never heard that before, but always knew the butterfly was a symbol of transformation. Very cool!

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So sorry for all your losses! I love to have memorial type gardens and yours was the beautiful butterfly garden which seems to bring you much joy!
So happy you have that! Joy to balance the grief!

Yes! Thank YOU! 🌺 🦋 🌸

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Thank you for this wonderful article.

I've also shared your post in the Steem Malaysia Community Page on Facebook, hoping to give you the extra exposure because of its good content. Feel free to join this community page is you wish!

I hope by doing this, more content creators/bloggers/vloggers will get to know this wonderful platform we both thrive in. :)

Keep creating awesome content!

This post was curated by @theluvbug
and has received an upvote and a delayed resteem to hopefully generate some ❤ extra love ❤ for your post!

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This is what we meant l steemterminal just do what you are good at and this is going great you blog wonderful

Than YOU! 😘

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Oh, the loss is so great and I am so sorry. That she was in peace makes my heart a little lighter. This was such a touching story of love and loss and growth.

I loved it!

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Thank YOU! 🌸 🌺 🌹

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You wrote a wonderful story about butterflies.

It is the first time I hear yellow is the color of cowards, here in the Netherlands they say it is the color of hate.

I had seeds for wildflowers too. I think it was this year I saw them in my backyard. We are 6 years later, perhaps more. I did not see them out of my property.

I wish you a great day with love 💕

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Thank YOU so much! I appreciate your support and will keep looking for the wildflowers! 😘

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Thank you for sharing something so personal and emotional.
It isn't easy to open up ourselves and show this side of our lives to the world.
Reading yours, I'm reminded of my parents and siblings; how somehow I take them for granted. Not saying thank you and spending more time with them.

Thank you for reminding me.

Thank you for your thoughtful and kind comment!

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