Emma’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,
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.