What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us. Helen Keller
Now that I am on the road to Spokane, I have quite a bit of stories to share. During our Caregiving journey I found it was not only important to share our story, but soothing too! While I always will feel part of the vast community of Caregivers, the bottom line is that my role has shifted from caring for someone else to caring for me. Learning how to care for yourself when coming out of Caregiving is going to be different for each one of us. I continue to embrace my life after caregiving has ended, some days are better than others.
Something happen recently that I haven’t shared because it has been difficult to put into words, yet alone perspective. In telling my story to a few close friends’ (which I will get to in a little bit), they reminded me of the story of the yellow butterfly. Are you familiar with the symbolism of the yellow butterfly? For instance, in the Christian tradition butterflies in general, symbolizes the resurrection. The caterpillar dies and lives again in a new more glorious form. In Scotland and Ireland, a yellow butterfly near the departed means the soul is at peace. When I told my story to my two friends’ (at different times) both recounted their own story about a yellow butterfly in their life, and how a yellow butterfly appeared out of nowhere when they were in the midst of feeling sad about the loss of a loved one. In both accounts, I was told of the comfort the yellow butterfly brought to my friends and the message they conveyed to me was similar to the beliefs what our friends in Scotland and Ireland believe: the soul is at peace and you can be at peace too!
I’m sure all of us at one time or another have thought long and hard about life after death: Do people communicate from “the other side” and if so, how? Friends, just like you, have told me from time to time, their stories of departed loved ones “communicating from the other side” in some form or another. The latest “after-life communication” story recounted to me is about a special paper towel dispenser in the form of a light house, which when tapped on top, displays a bright red light followed by a loud bellowing sound of a ships’ horn. The lighthouse towel dispenser can only turn on when tapped on top, yet after the passing of my friends’ husband, there has been instances where the lighthouse simply turns on itself! (That bellowing sound of the ship horn will get your attention.) Does this phenomena have meaning? Is it my friend’s deceased husband communicating, or is it just a chance event…what do you think?
Richard was a firm believer that “once the lights went out, that was it!” He did not believe in life after death and he did not believe there was communication from “the other side.” Even though my seminary professors would be aghast to hear my say this, I do believe that people who have gone before us, do communicate to us in some form or fashion. On December 11, 2015…it happen to me!
On December 11, 2015 I received a text message (see above) from Richard’s phone which has been disconnected for over 18 months. Startled, I did not know what to think of this text. When his picture popped up on my cell phone text message screen I had to do a double-take! Technological glitch? Phenomenon? Message from the other side? Or as I have come to accept, my yellow butterfly.
There is no rhyme or reason to this “text” message: no message inside the text, just his smiling face on my screen. My phone carrier can’t explain it because his old numbers are not in service, and if they were, “how would the new owner know to text my number” the tech said? I have been cautious to share this story because I have had a hard time understanding the meaning of this text message – that is until I think of the meaning of the yellow butterfly!
As most of my family, friends, radio show listeners, and readers know, I have struggled since Richard made is life transition. Two-steps forward, one step back. Trying to find my place and identity has been challenging since Richard made his life transition. I do know finishing the Masters degree will be a big boost to my confidence!
During my course of study at Gonzaga in Leadership and Communication, we have looked at the many different communication theory’s, as well as many different forms of communication. However, there is no communication theory that explains the phenomena of the yellow butterfly better than faith. I cherish this “message” because I do believe in this form of communication. I don’t know if I will ever get another “text message ” from Richard, but what I have learned from this message is a simple reminder that there is never an ending, there are only new beginnings and Richard is at peace, and I can be at peace too!
“On The Road To Spokane” is my story leading up to graduation in May at Gonzaga University.
Chris MacLellan is the host of “Healing Ties” Radio program and the author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving”