Those that know me, know that I have an affinity for butterflies. For those of you who are just becoming acquainted with me in cyberspace, here is why….
August 31, 2005 was the day that changed my life forever. Not only was it my third wedding anniversary, but God took away my best friend, my rock, the strongest woman I ever knew- my mother. Anita Louise Chiarello Nilsen was a fighter. She was told in 1988 that she had an extremely rare form of thyroid cancer and that she needed to “get her affairs in order,” that she only had 6 months to live. (Let me preface the next statement by saying that I heard my mother drop an “F bomb” twice in my entire life.) She looked the doctor square in the face and said “F$%! you, I have three kids, and I am going to see them get married.”After 17 years, 18 surgeries, several radiation treatments and various other experimental procedures, she lost her battle. However, she did not go down without a fight.
The day before she died, my sister, Karen and I were sitting with her when she said “I will always be with you. If there is a way for me to let you know I am here, I will give you a sign.” When we met with our priest after her death, he said be aware of the signs. Signs, signs signs…what signs? That day, each and every person in our family had an extraordinary encounter with a butterfly. Thus, began my love for the beautiful little creatures. For any of you that have lost someone close to you, you understand the deep yearning for a connection to that person. After she died, I was completely lost- in a total daze. Two weeks later, I gave birth to E. The one thing that I can remember during that bittersweet time in my life is the constant presence of a butterfly nearby.
So now, I have built a tasteful collection of butterflies to remind me that “Neets” as I used to call her, is always with us… In fact every time we see a butterfly flutter past us, E says “Look Mommy, a butterfly. That means that Grandma is watching over us.” There are so many beautiful butterfly items to collect…. Clothing, jewelry, artwork and best yet, I am currently working on a butterfly display for my new living room… Stay tuned.