But we had Good Friday off of school this year and I got a great deal to see Butterflies in the Garden at the Botanical Gardens here in town. Once I managed to get everyone loaded up and happy, we were set. Well, ok so maybe I called in Grandma and Granddad for backup. Don't judge.
We had to wait a while but when you're waiting at the Botanical Gardens, the wait doesn't seem so bad.
Landry was in the baby snuggli with my dad. My poor dad's shoulders, I'm sure he was probably rubbing icy hot on his shoulders after such a beating.
Campbell was on full alert and going on a butterfly hunt.
We had a butterfly service for my sister after her battle with breast cancer and being surrounded by hundreds of beautiful butterflies was food for my soul.
Not including the conservatory, I've never seen as many butterflies as I have this Spring. I'm sure that a lot of it has to do with the connection of Tonya's middle name, Vanesse, means butterfly. But these little whispers of "I'm still here with you" that I hear everytime I see them flying around keep me reassured that her memory will forever be with me.
I worry my children will not remember her, or at least Nolan who is old enough to remember her. But everytime I see a butterfly for the rest of my life, I will look at it as an opportunity to describe their wonderful aunt who loved them dearly.
Perhaps what has meant more to me than anything is that many people, some of whom I hardly know, email me or tell me that they can't see a butterfly without thinking of Tonya. What a wonderful testimony that her story has had an impact on others, and her memory will continue to live.
With grieving, you find that at first everyone is there and supportive in every way. But as the days move on, people move on too. You ask youself how can people move on and act like nothing ever happened? But in another sense, you need that. You need it so you can move on from your pit of despair.
The kaleidoscope of butterflies might have just been exactly what this mama needed to begin "moving on". I've been terrified that I hadn't had a dream about Tonya. It took two very long months. But in my dreams? Tonya was doing my makeup and did one of my eyes and I looked like I could have given Angelina Jolie a run for her money with how beautiful she made me look. It's a dream, just go with me on this one, ok? So I tried doing the other eye, and I ended up looking like a raccoon! We burst into laughter. I love that even in my dreams, she was healthy, beautiful and we were like we always were...sisters laughing.
“You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”
― Anne Lamott
And I'm still learning to dance.