The message came four months ago yesterday.
It was unexpected, and it touched me, literally.
My mind was still processing from the day before. How did this happen? My eyes were hurt and swollen. I hadn’t slept, and all I was doing was crying.
I couldn’t stop.
My mind kept asking—why? How did this happen? It’s not right. She was so young!
I felt sad and empty as I stood on my deck that early June morning, surrounded by the flowers and the trees in my yard. Any other morning I would be smiling and enjoying the sun on my face, sipping coffee, and taking in all the sounds. The birds were flying from branch to branch, singing their early morning tweets, as a bumblebee buzzed by my head, landing on the pansies in my terra-cotta flowerpot.
My deck is an extension of my home, a place of peace. A space where I can sit, be, and listen to the world waking up; the little round glass table with two chairs is perfect for my husband and me to enjoy our peaceful sunrise or mid-morning coffee. The bird feeders gently sway in the morning sun, just waiting for someone to fly in and enjoy breakfast. A place for me to just enjoy the beginning of my day.
But not this morning.
I couldn’t sit and sip my coffee and enjoy my flowers or hope for the random hummingbirds that come to visit from time to time. I didn’t care about that. I was lost; I was alone this morning.
My heart was broken, and all I knew was that my sister was gone.
Tissues were stuffed in the old, pink bathrobe that I was wearing. I was barefoot; my hair still had pins in it from the day before—I didn’t care.
I just knew that I wouldn’t be chatting on the phone with my sister anymore: no more laughs and giggles or plans to get together. My future had changed, and all that I had was the last memory of her walking up my driveway; we had hugged and cried. We cried because we had missed each other. Although we talked daily, that hug is what I remember the most.
The world was in turmoil with COVID-19. It was the end of May; the world was slowly coming out of a locked-up society. As families, we were locked up without each other. No physical contact; keep your distance. Keep your social circle small. It was crazy and lonely. To see my sister and give her a hug was the last physical touch and memory I had with her.
Her life was taken one week later.
As I gaze out over my flower boxes and think about all of it, I feel like I’m in a daze. It is a glorious morning. But not for me. I want to go back to bed.
I start dead-heading my flowers, picking off the dead blooms mindlessly and throwing them off my deck. I feel like I’m moving in slow-motion. Nothing makes sense to me anymore.
I want to scream, but instead, I start praying, and I start talking to my sister. My words are filling my head, and my heart is in pain. But I keep praying and whispering—why?
Why didn’t you call me when you were having trouble breathing?
Why didn’t you call the rescue?
Tears start rolling down my cheeks; I feel so alone and scared. It’s only me now; the only member from my nuclear family left here on earth. Only me to carry on the traditions of holidays, birthdays, and family gatherings.
How am I going to live without you? I ask.
As I lifted my head to look up, my eyes caught the wings of an odd, different butterfly, which had just landed on my wrist. It wasn’t a butterfly—it was a moth, about two to three inches in length with wings that were elongated on her back. She was as light as a feather and had gently rested on my wrist.
The moth was green like the colors of a fern. Her head was facing my fingers, and her body was just resting along the top of my wrist. It was magical and sad; I was in awe of this tiny little creature that came to rest upon me.
If only for a minute, there was a minute of love—love from my sister, saying, “I am okay, sis. I am here with you. I am not far. Don’t cry.”
I watched as she flew away from me slowly. She looked like a little fairy pulsing through the air. I felt not so alone—I knew my sister was with me. That was her message.
Be still, and you will know I am with you. Look for me, and you will see me.
They say messages come when you need them the most—it is true.