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.

3 thoughts on “Butterflies….

  1. Krista Salmon

    Thank you for sharing your stories ladies. I think that you never really understand the yearning for some kind of connection until you lose a loved one. Beautiful experiences like these are such a gift. I hope you have many more– I just had another one today!

  2. Amanda

    WOW! I found your blog through Emily A. Clark. and have really enjoyed reading all your post. But this one has really struck a cord with me. I lost my father 3 yrs ago. And the first 2 weeks after his death there was this butterfly that kept coming around my mothers house. One day while we were sitting in her dining room she had the slider door crack open to let fresh air in and that butterfly flew right in and lighted on the table where she sat-then danced around her and flew away! It was amazing!!!
    I just read the comment above seeing she too had the same experience! God is so good to use to remind us that are loved ones are well and in good hands!
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Katie


    Found your blog featured on Emily’s about your kitchen. I couldn’t help but comment on this post. I lost my mom to cancer when I was 16 (10 years ago next month) and butterflies were her favorite. So much so that my Dad had butterflies engraved on her tombstone. Anyways, on my wedding day, when my husband and I exited the church, my aunts (her sisters) saw a butterfly fly right by me and the butterfly came right over to them and flew around them for a bit. They said it was one of the most surreal moments they ever had. I love that you share something so similar.


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