Monday, May 14, 2012 — Last year, as every year, I gave Emma a Mother’s Day card. Even though I picked one with a big picture of colorful flowers on it and a simple verse, when I showed it to her and read it to her, it didn’t much register. This year, I received a message from her.

Emma’s healthcare aide Daphne came by on Mother’s Day 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.” How thoughtful and touching.

Then 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.

Daphne put the butterfly in a jar giving it air and showed her son, 11. Her son had come to our house sometimes and helped Daphne take the last photos of Emma. “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