Monday, October 30, 2006

Butterflies in the Rain

Have you ever seen a butterfly in the rain? By nature, butterflies must remain in shelter when it rains. The weight of the raindrops on their wings makes it impossible for them to fly when it's raining. So, have you ever seen a butterfly fly in the rain? I have.

My mother passed away at the relatively young age of fifty-eight. After battling for nearly a year with an enemy the doctors were unable to diagnose, my mother succumbed to cancer. She was misdiagnosed with "mini-strokes" and kidney failure, and a number of minor conditions, while the cancer ravaged her, spreading through her body until a healthy internal organ did not exist.

Before her passing, we all had the chance to say our goodbyes. Not much of a chance, as the diagnosis of cancer was followed quite rapidly by her passing, but we all had the chance to express our love for her and say "goodbye." We were at peace with it, because she was a Godly woman -- a Christian -- who secured her place in Heaven decades ago.

Her final moments on this Earth were spent with family. All four of her children, their spouses, and three grandchildren were at her bedside when she drew her last breath. It's an experience I'll never forget but don't plan to get into now.

Mom touched so many lives that her funeral was standing room only and over a thousand people paid their last respects during the visitation the day before. In accordance with her wishes, after a brief private, family-only viewing, the visitation and funeral were closed-casket. We placed into the casket before it was sealed a poem I wrote for her and some of her favorite things: Wise potato chips, Reese peanut butter cups, Clorets gum, and an iris. Her family was the last to see her off once again. There was no graveside service.

Later that day, my wife and I paid a visit to the cemetery, where we placed some more of her favorite things: fresh flowers and silk butterflies. Mom always loved butterflies.

As you'll recall, just over two months ago I was involved in a rather lucky auto accident. Lucky because I survived without a scratch. I lost traction in the pouring down rain. The back of the car spun 270 degrees as I slid across the roadway and into the ditch on the opposite side. Upon contact with the solid ground that rose up from the ditch into a cornfield, the car began to roll. I believe it only rolled once, but it's hard to be certain -- I was a bit disoriented afterwards.

I did have my wits about me enough to jump from the car immediately when it came to a stop. I guess it's a good thing I wasn't injured, because that couldn't have been helpful. I flagged down a passing motorist who -- though they wouldn't let me in their car in the driving rain -- was kind enough to let me use a cell phone to call 911.

It wasn't until after the Sheriff's Deputy arrived that I was able to locate my own cell phone. It was lying in a puddle of water in the grass with a book I had been reading and the Palm Pilot I'm writing this on now. As I gathered up my scattered belongings, I looked into the car for anything that I might need to secure before leaving it with the wrecker company. I opened the back passenger door and the most beautiful Monarch butterfly buzzed past my face as it escaped the vehicle. At the time I wondered how it got into the car, but dismissed it to the shattered front passenger door window. It's only now, almost three months later, as the rain beats the pavement outside once again, that it comes back to haunt me. How did that butterfly manage to fly in a downpour? Where did it come from? And how did it get into the car? And when?

Or was it not really a butterfly at all? Could it have been an Angel of Mercy sent to shield me from harm? Sent in the form of something that was so dear to mother?


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