I read a something online quite a while ago, I don’t remember if it was a blog post or a comment I came across or something shared on a website, but the idea of it struck me.

This woman shared that someone close to her had died – mother or grandmother – but promised to come back as a butterfly to check on them. Shortly afterwards, as the woman visited, I believe it was her niece, in the hospital after a stillbirth, she saw the nurses had marked the door with a butterfly to let hospital staff going in know that this woman had suffered a loss.

I’ve always believed in ghosts or angels, or paranormal whatsit, all my life. I used to take books out of the library and read about paranormal activity, near death experiences, all the things people believe or don’t believe. I used to watch Montel Williams whenever it was a Sylvia Brown day, I was John Edward’s show.

My grandmother died in 2003, just as I finished my college program and was getting ready to find a job and move away from home. It wasn’t sudden, at all. It was Alzheimer’s and it was long and painful. I had really already grieved for her, she hadn’t been the person that had helped raise me for a long, long time. I hated her for the pain she was putting my mother through, begging to go home, being mean to the nurses, hitting my grandfather, who at the time was the most important person in the world to me. I still have a hard time looking past what she became and remembering what she was to us.

She was a great cook, she doted on us, she really did help raise us. Once, when I stepped on a broken juice bottle at the park she carried me home. Carried me for blocks. But I became a nasty teenager who was rude to everyone, and she developed Alzheimer’s shortly after. She went into the hospital as I finished high school, and stayed there until she died. Visits were very, very hard.

They scattered her ashes on the prairie, in Regina as she would have wanted. My grandfather and my mother have since moved back to Saskatchewan. I took the kid to visit them there when she was six months old.

There was my mother, sitting on a porch swing outside the retirement residence where she lives, talking with a friend, probably about Tutu’s age, who was delighting over Maggie, and there was this bright yellow butterfly. It flew around me, around Maggie and right in my face.

The past two weeks have been very difficult for us – I’ve been hurt, Maggie hasn’t been falling asleep easily or quickly, Joe had travel, I found out I have to get a root canal and then hurt my back so badly I could barely move for a few days. Early this week I was in the kitchen getting myself coffee and something caught my eye in the backyard. The dog was standing at the door, I thought it was the neighbours cat, when I saw it flick again in the corner of my eye I went over to see. There see was, my yellow butterfly, flying around our backyard, coming right up to the door almost as though she was asking to come inside.

On Wednesday, the day that I was full of worry about my doctor’s appointment and going back to work, Joe called to tell me that he would be there shortly, so I got ready and went outside to meet him. I locked the front door, turned around, and there she was, fluttering around the front yard, over the bushes and around the baby’s swing.

On my lower back I have a forget-me-not tattooed. It reminds me of my two grandmothers who suffered from the horrible effects of Alzheimer’s and of what could happen to me. When I can, I’m going to get it improved, better colouring, more flowers, branches and a bright yellow butterfly.


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