Butterfly

BEmma’s healthcare aide Daphne came by on Mother’s Day, May 13, 2012, and brought me a card. It is a pretty pink card bearing a message saying in part, “Your love is a rare and beautiful gift and there’s no one who shares it like you.”

Emma had passed away on April 11. We rejoiced that she was finally released from her long suffering, free to explore and tend her beloved flowers in a new garden. Emma loved Daphne, who always made her smile, who tended to her as if she were the rarest flower in the most beautiful garden. Daphne would get Emma out of bed, dress her up, and with the help of her son, 11, create backdrops and sets, take photos of a smiling Emma and put them together in an album for me and our family to cherish. The photos documented Emma’s slow decline; yet even to the end, Emma, who had done some modeling, always knew when her photo was being taken, and smiled.

Daphne told me that the night before Mother’s Day a message flitted into her mind. She felt compelled to write it down. Without pause, she went straight to her room, shut the door, and the words just flowed from her pen onto the small piece of paper. This is the message:

To: The Listeners

I am a new butterfly in heaven town. I will be on the trail checking in on everyone! So now and then I will be by everyone’s side. Just remember Family and Friends are most important. So strive through thick and thin. And when you get down and out just imagine a one of a kind butterfly ever so beautiful. And know that someday you too will get your wings in due time. So the next time you see a butterfly it might just be me flying around to check in on everyone!

Lots of love,
xoxo’s Emma

After Daphne wrote down the message, she tucked it into my card. Then she heard an odd sound. It was a fluttering. She looked up and there fluttering around her light fixture was a small butterfly. Daphne went to the butterfly. It had singed the edge of its wing. She turned off the light. The butterfly landed on Daphne’s index finger, glommed on and wouldn’t let go. Daphne walked around with it. She couldn’t pull it off; she might pull off a wing.

The butterfly held fast to Daphne’s finger just like Emma had held fast to Daphne’s arm, glommed on, when Daphne was turning her in bed. Emma was so afraid she’d fall, even when in bed.

Emma loved her gardens of flowers, especially the roses. And she loved butterflies.  I never realized how much until after her passing. She had a large embroidered canvas of a Monarch butterfly hanging on her bedroom wall. She displayed butterflies as décor all over the house. Even some of her clothing was butterfly print. And one of the watercolors she painted was a Monarch butterfly.

Daphne put the butterfly in a jar giving it air and showed her son. “It’s a moth,” her son said before seeing the winged creature. When he peered into the jar, he saw that it was a small butterfly.

Then Daphne took the butterfly outside and set her free.

Samantha Mozart

"Butterfly" Watercolor by Emma

“Butterfly” Watercolor by Emma

12 Responses to Butterfly

  1. So very moving, Samantha. This part touched me beyond words: “… held fast to Daphne’s finger just like Emma had held fast to Daphne’s arm … when Daphne was turning her in bed. Emma was so afraid she’d fall, even when in bed.” And the watercolor done by Emma is precious. Thank you for sharing this with us. Just lovely.

  2. Hi,

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful memory. I, too, love butterflies. There is something special about them.

    Shalom,
    Patricia

    • Patricia, I don’t know why your comments don’t automatically post to my site. They used to. Yes, there is something special about butterflies. I promise not to take them off the lettuces and herbs in my garden this year when they’re in their larva stage. Some of those have quite fancy stripes and dots, so I know they’re going to become beautiful butterflies one day.

      Thanks, as always.
      Shalom,
      Samantha

  3. Marsha Lackey

    So beautiful, it’s written in the same magnificence of a delicate butterfly lighting on Daphne’s loving finger. Brought years to my eyes with more common ground with my own mother. I’ll always remember your sharing your experiences with Emma with our caregiver group more than 3 years ago. Love you!

    • Isn’t it something, Marsha? More than three years already. Unbelievable. Yes, our memories of our dear mothers. It’s an interesting journey going all back through this to write these A-Z posts. It’s almost like she’s here again. And, maybe she is, watching over me, as might have been your mom when you got teary eyed.

      Love you, too, you special Roo. 🙂

      Thanks.

  4. This is so delightful and loving. You did have a special Hospice caregiver for Emma. I’m sure Emma has been flitting around in the flower bed enjoying her garden and watching over you.

    • Oh, yes, Gwynn. There’s more to this butterfly story. Now and then, a butterfly flits around me at the most strategic moments.

      Daphne, I should note, is not a hospice caregiver, but worked independently. I got her through a different agency. She lives nearby, however, and continues to be a special friend, keeping in touch, making sure I haven’t fallen down the back staircase, I guess. She and her family have been very kind and helpful to me.

      She is also a school crossing guard and watches over the kids — making sure the have food and warm, dry clothes.

      Thanks.

  5. O Samantha, so beautiful and touching, fragile like the butterfly … thank you …

    • Thank you, Susan. So very kind and touching of Daphne. She’s a special person. Mother always smiled when she saw her.

  6. Robert Price

    Absolutely beautiful!

    R.