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A butterfly’s visit

A week after my mom passed, I was driving to my gift store, Anne’s House of Angels, when I asked her for a sign that she had made it to Heaven. I felt a hand rest on my cheek, and I smiled and said: “What the heck was that, Mom?”

Then I wondered if it had really happened. I asked, “Mom, can you send me a real sign?” As I turned the corner, my car was instantly engulfed in little white butterflies. It was a butterfly blizzard! I cried, and I laughed. I could almost hear her giggling and saying, “Anne, did you get that sign you asked for? Was that one real enough for you?”

Ever since that day, when I think of my mom, a little white butterfly appears. At my gift store, it became a tradition that if anyone spotted a white butterfly in the rose bushes out front, they would run in and tell me, “Anne, your mom’s out front again!” I loved that sisterhood, and the total belief in her sign.

My mom’s sign as a little white butterfly isn’t surprising. She wasn’t a flashy woman; she wouldn’t need to be a fancy, multi-colored monarch. She wouldn’t want big, ostentatious wings. Small, classic, delicate wings were just her style. She lived her life with simple pleasures, and now she continues to bless my life in the same fashion.

* * * * *

When my son finished high school, I was distraught that my mom couldn’t be with us to attend the graduation ceremony. It was the first big family celebration since she passed. I sat down in the rocking chair on my front porch, in tears.

Just then a little butterfly landed in my hanging basket. It bounced to the next one and finally, onto my chair. I sniffled and said: “Hi, Mom. I’m really missing you today.”

When it was time to go, my family walked to the car, and the white butterfly came along, dancing around each one of us. My daughters said in unison, “Nan’s here!” And she was there, circling the car. She flitted in front of the windshield to be sure we all noticed her.

My husband asked, “Did you really think she’d miss her grandson’s graduation?”

Of course, I didn’t.

* * * * *

She continued her visits. At the rehearsal for my son’s garden wedding, my husband and I sat in the front row. Times like that always made me miss both of my parents. I was taking a sentimental journey in my mind when a small white butterfly arrived. She danced between the future bride and groom as they practiced their vows. She lingered, watching from a branch. I like to think she was sprinkling them with blessings for their life together.

She would never miss her grandson’s wedding.

* * * * *

These small visits from my mother remind me that I am never alone. She is still very near. Just because I can’t hug her, it doesn’t mean she isn’t there. I still talk to her everyday.

As I wrote this, a small, white butterfly was perched on my windowsill.

I’ve collected 60 stories, many from Erma conference gals, that tell of a message they received from someone in Heaven. The book will be released in September.

— Anne Bardsley

Anne Bardsley lives in St Petersburg, Florida, with her “wrinkle maker” of a husband and two spoiled cockatoos. She’s still recovering from raising five children. She is so happy she didn’t strangle them as teenagers as they’ve given her beautiful grandchildren. She is the author of How I Earned My Wrinkles: Musings on Marriage, Motherhood and Menopause. Her latest book, Angel Bumps, will be published by Mill House Publishing in fall 2017. She blogs at

Reflections of Erma