This was originally written in February of 2004 but has since been revised. It’s about a day in February after the death of my mother.
After my mother died, my father had my sister and me rummage through the house looking for things that belonged to our mother that perhaps we would want to have. Every time I came across something of Mom’s, it was a butterfly or had butterflies on it. As an example, she had this little butterfly-shaped crystal trinket box. I got that. Then I found a lovely floral Lena Liu print of butterflies and flowers with this quote:
“Where there is faith, there is love; where there is love, there is peace; where there is peace, there is God; where there is God, there is no need.”
I got the picture, too. Then I found an orange and yellow finely crocheted butterfly I’m sure one of her sisters made. I got that. Yet another find was one of those snow globes in the shape of a heart, with two butterflies inside resting on a bloom. I got that. Then suddenly, a light went on in my head. Ding! I knew! I just knew! At that point, I sensed my mother’s presence*, as if she were right there with me. I don’t know if I believe in such things, but it felt so real. Feelings are never wrong, right? It’s difficult to explain, but I felt this sense of joy and happiness. Then finally, I remembered something Mom wanted to give me one time.
*They say it is common for those who have lost someone to sense the deceased.
The Stained Glass
A few years back, Mom wanted me to have this stained glass piece she made that was hanging in the window of the little bathroom off the laundry room. I gently told her at the time I wasn’t into stained glass; it just wasn’t my thing. She’d given me quite a bit over the years, so I told her how much I cherish all the other things she made. And I do! It’s the truth! I have many cherished treasures she’d given me over the many years. But I hurt her terribly which wasn’t my intent. What in the world was I thinking? I never did get a good look at that stained glass. Until this day.
So as I sensed the joy and the presence of my mom, and as she stayed with me the whole time, “we” went looking for the stained glass in the little bathroom. And as suspected, it has on it a big beautiful butterfly. I knew! I sensed it was of a butterfly and it really was. And it’s lovely. I realized then as I know now what it is to have faith, as I had considered myself an agnostic before this experience.
I continued to have a sense of my mother nearby. Her presence felt so real it made me weep. This connection I felt was just as strong as that last morning of her life. At the time Mom was in the hospice, they told us the day before she was in a coma and it could be any time. Her pulse and blood pressure had been so low they couldn’t get a reading, so they stopped all nursing services. The last morning I had with her, can you guess what happened? This one brief moment in time, as I held my mother’s hand, and as her eyes wandered as they would*, our eyes locked! I looked at her and said softly, “I love you, Mom.” Then, unintelligibly, yet with just the right familiar rhythm, she looked at me and said, “I love you too, honey.” Her words wouldn’t be obvious to anyone else but it was to me! She’d told me that many, many times throughout my 43 years. That one brief moment in time with her, another miracle within itself, will stay with me for as long as I live. It was so amazing. A few minutes after that she was gone. It was a Saturday, on January 31, 2004 at 9:02 AM.
*There comes a time when the dying are unable to blink. Their eyes wander aimlessly.
So I got the crystal butterfly-shaped trinket box, the Lena Liu print with butterflies and flowers, the beautifully crocheted butterfly, and the heart-shaped snow globe with the two butterflies on a bloom. But whatever happened to that stained glass with the beautiful butterfly, you ask? I got that, too!
“In life, the unspoken bond I had with my mother had always been there. We became great friends as women. I knew what she needed. She knew what I thought. And in these 11 years since, she is still with me in death in that part of my heart meant only for her. I love you Mom. And I always knew you loved me, too. Thank you so much for that. It’s a wonderful gift for me to carry.” ~Mindy Ogg, January 31, 2015
In Loving Memory of:
Dora Blanche“Connie” Walker Ogg
September 2, 1924 – January 31, 2004