A few weeks ago during an especially hot and difficult run, butterflies covered the country road on which I ran. Every step, another butterfly.
My grandmother helped me make an outfit I wore repetitively my senior year of high school. The skirt, long and to the floor before maxi skirts were cool, was covered in brightly colored butterflies. Butterflies were my thing in 1998. I wore jeans with embroidered butterflies on the back pockets. And shirt upon shirt featuring butterflies. When I made the skirt, we also took a white v-neck t-shirt and ironed various butterflies from the fabric onto the shirt; it’s long since been ruined by coffee and the yellowing of age.
I was downstairs in her basement, sewing the skirt together, when I yelled for her.
“Grandma! I accidentally sewed the bottom of the skirt!”
She came downstairs laughing. “So you made a big pillowcase?”
I did. She helped me fix my error and encouraged me to finish up the project.
I feel like she was with me on my run that day, too. I didn’t want to be running, especially in the heat. But every time I kept feeling as though I couldn’t carry on, another butterfly fluttered in my path. I’ve experienced this during a run at the cemetery shortly after her death that Friday in 2014. And in other places. Butterflies are my sign that Grandma is near, is with me. Well, that and shoes in the wrong place, but that’s a harder one to explain and makes me feel/look crazier than necessary.
I’ve accepted the signs simply because I need to believe I’m not without my Grandma. We’ve endured the first year; we’ve interred her ashes with Grandpa’s. Sometimes I fear that I’ll forget the bits and pieces of her I want to hold close, the ones I swear I’ll never forget. I worry I’ll lose her in the busyness of my life, only thinking of her on holidays or anniversaries.
I suppose she keeps sending butterflies because she refuses to be forgotten. She’s kind of stubborn like that.
Of course, she shows up in my cooking, in the way I match my purse to my shoes, in the way I painstakingly hunted out new curtains. I am thankful, however, for the butterflies.
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I finished reading Rare Bird today, on the four year “crapiversary” of Jack’s death. It wasn’t intentional, though I worked at BlogHer when he passed away. I chose not to read Anna’s book when it was released in 2014 because last year was the hardest year I’d endured in my life. I’m glad I read it today, and take it as a sign of faith as I continually struggle with my own. Many thanks to Anna for sharing her story, and for Jack and Grandma for showing up in necessary and appreciated ways.