Thursday, December 23, 2010

Butterfly Angels ~ Part One~

The butterflies began for me many years ago. To understand, I must start at the beginning. I won't be able to tell this story all at once. It expands over years of time, and is very emotional for me. It's sad at times, but ultimately, it brings me happiness and comfort. For all of you straddling the fence of belief or non-belief, I hope this makes you feel good. Nothing more, nothing less. I'm not here to convert, I am here to comfort. 

My cousin Adam loved butterflies. Adam died at the very young age of four. Adam was electrocuted doing what little boys like to do, he was flying a kite.  The kite line hit an electrical line. I was five when Adam died. My family doesn't talk about sadness or uncomfortable subjects. Which is normal, I guess. I don't like sad either.. but I like to know. Pain can be joy, if you remember the right things.

Adam and the discussion of Adam was between me and my grandmother Eloise when I was about 15 years old. I knew, I think, about the kite, because we never had kites. But I didn't know about the butterflies. I too, loved butterflies. And this particular day, my MaMa told me about Adam. She was teaching me how to cross stitch and the pattern I had picked was full of butterflies. She told me, that the day he was buried, they placed a butterfly in his casket because he loved them so.

I have no idea if this set my love for them in concrete, or if I only thought about it every now and again. I just know the love has followed me into adulthood. I have them all over my house, in all forms.I had them in my room as a teenager. They have always been a part of my life. And I like to think, a connection/bond between me and my MaMa and Adam, all those years ago.

My MaMa died when my Joshua was one years old, April of 1987. The night of the day of her funeral, we had gone to bed. Lying in my bed, I heard the mobile that hung above Josh's bed, make the slightest tinkle, pretty soft music. I got up to see what was going on, it was moving, he was asleep, and there was no fan, no air running in his room. I have always known that was my MaMa looking at my baby. Maybe saying goodbye, making taking a last look.  But it brought me a peace unlike any other.

July of 1998, me and my boys moved to Quincy Florida, I was 1 1/2 years into a divorce, and moving away from everything I had any memory of knowing. I wondered if my MaMa would know where I was, if she would worry. I wondered this, because this is how I think. I have a problem with "never again" and my only comfort thru life, is that I will see and know loved ones again. We moved into a big, old fixed up farmhouse. We were into our 3rd week of living there, sitting on our front porch swing, and suddenly, the porch and the bushes around the porch were over run with butterflies. I knew she had found me, found us. That house had more butterfly action than I have ever seen in my life, to date.

In April 2003, I was going home for lunch, I was flipping radio stations, and I landed on an instrumental only station playing the same song my Grandadddy played on the piano after every single meal we ate. I thought of him all the way home. He was so hard to talk to, I always had to work my nerve up for conversation. But I called when I got home to check on him. He was fine, he said. He shouted, he could not hear well.

One week later, he had a mild heart attack and fell in his driveway. The granddaddy who was the husband to my precious MaMa. Strange that I haven't mentioned him until now, not really. We were never very close . He was a hard man to love sometimes and even harder to like. I never thought he liked me much, or anyone else for that matter. He tolerated me for my MaMa, I think he knew better.  He was an acquired taste of a man.

After the fall,  my family had to place him in a nursing home. He was a very proud man. Had he known, had he been aware, he would not have been pleased. That someone had to dress him, bathe him and help him brush his teeth.  I went to visit him prepared for nothing. To have no feeling, to have no hurt. He broke my heart. He wasn't that same man who was so hard to talk to, he was a sad old man.

The very first visit, I went with WD. My Granddaddy was in an open room with a TV playing. He was sitting in a wheelchair. I held a cup of water, while he tried to remember how to drink out of the straw. I walked away from that visit a changed person. It was so upsetting, that he was so much easier to love, when I wasn't really sure he even really knew who I was anymore.

At some point, on another one of the visits, when I brought my boys, I saw a glimmer of realization. If for only a minute, he knew us. He asked Zach how he was doing in school and called me sweetie when he kissed me on the cheek. The boys left "pieces" of them with him. Josh left a beanie hat and Zach left a little green John Deer Tractor. To keep us with him, we left him pieces to hold onto.

My granddaddy passed July 2003. I have to stop here, but I promise, the rest of this part of the story is beautiful and happy. I hope you come back tomorrow to read it.

copyright © 2010 Michelle Mount Mims

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