There is a butterfly that swirls around our house every day. It circles the garden when we are looking for strawberries and lands on our porch when I’m trying to talk someone out of playing in the mud. It’s the same butterfly every time because it is. I know it is. Sawyer has bent to watch it’s wings flutter and called me close when it stays still enough for him to name its colors and Parker and McKenna chase it while giggling to the sky.
Since we moved there is so much more time for fresh air and bird-feeding and the stars collect right above our house at night. In the middle of summer, before the high grass across the street was cut and bailed for hay, the fireflies would cling to the tall strands and take turns glimmering in complete darkness, the entire sky twinkling at our feet.
I used to look for Hadley everywhere. I was desperate for a sign, some brief knowing that she was with us but I couldn’t find it. To me, it felt like failure. As her mom, how could I not feel her presence every moment of the day? When I finally stopped looking I found her. There were no visions appearing or times when I heard her voice. Sometimes there was a quiet soft enough to touch and other times a feeling of being so close to the sky a cloud might brush my shoulder.
The comfort in being wrapped in her memory has grown over time and pushed away so much of the raw pain of the early years of grieving.
We are missing a part of our life that we will never be able to replace but somehow she is still here. I carry her in a much different way than I had ever planned. Even though she is gone, she never really left.
The sky has fallen right into our hands.
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