Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Don't Normally Believe in Such Things

When my father passed away seven years ago, I returned to Atlanta after the funeral and the first morning I was home I took Simon for a morning walk.  It was early May when the yellow pollen had finally disappeared from sight allowing all the spring colors to show off their glory.  It was very quiet that morning which allowed me to sink into my own thoughts while Simon took me along his normal route. When we came upon one of his favorite sniffing spots, an overgrown bush at a neighbor's yard, a big yellow and black butterfly swooped down under the bush flitted around Simon for a few seconds then flew off. 

I thought it was the oddest occurrence since, first of all, it was early May, usually too early for butterflies, and secondly, it swooped down to street level in order to get under the bush to reach Simon.  I didn't give it any thought afterwards, but at the time I found it very strange.  That is, until the next day when I was speaking with one of my brothers who was still in Florida with my mother.  During that conversation, my hubby wanted me to ask my brother if a little frog he had noticed during the final three weeks my father was alive was still perched upon a certain window sill of their house.  It was because of that request my brother told me about the significance of butterflies and a loved one passing on. Of course, that made me immediately think of the butterfly sighting I had the morning before. 

The belief is if a butterfly sighting occurs within a few days after a loved one passes on, they have come back to let you know they are okay and to say goodbye.   When he told me this I got goosebumps because my Dad loved our little Simon but never got to see him while he was in the hospital during his last weeks, so I took that visit as my Dad's way of saying goodbye to him.

For years, my Dad had a favorite sweatshirt he wore when he worked in the yard , it was bright yellow with a big smiley face printed in black on the front. Being that this particular butterfly species was mainly yellow and black made the sighting even more significant.

About three years later my hubby's mum passed on and we flew to England to attend her funeral.  It was a frigid and windy day in March, and when her casket was carried into the church, a butterfly flew along with it and continued hovering over the casket during the service.  Everyone noticed it. Some saw it close enough to identify it as a Red Admiral.  When we arrived back in the States, a couple of days later I walked out to our backyard to speak with hubby who was working in the garden.  Flying around him was a butterfly, but it's flying habit was different, similar to the one we had seen at the funeral in England.  It flitted very quickly wherever it went.  It was more like a moth's movements, but this was definitely a butterfly.  Because of it's quickness it was extremely difficult to get a close look.  Whenever it landed it would quickly put its wings together.  I stuck with it because I was determined to get a photo which I finally accomplished.  As eerie as it may sound, I identified it as a Red Admiral, never to be seen here again since.

It took these two sightings to make me a believer even though I normally shrug such nonsense off.  These photos are of the Tiger Swallowtail butterfly, the one that flew around Simon that morning.  These photos were taken yesterday in our backyard, just one day after Father's Day.   Now, whenever I see these butterflies I call them "Dad" and say hi.