My Uncle’s Red-Spotted Purple
(Submitted by Michelle)

I had no idea that butterflies were associated with those loved ones who have passed on before us so frequently until I read the stories here. Mine is only slightly unique.

My favorite person in the whole world was my uncle, my mother's younger brother. We were close in age and spent a lot of our younger years together. He aggravated me to tears at every opportunity. And I was sure he hung the moon.

When I was small and we played outside, often a Red-spotted Purple would swoop into our range. These butterflies seem to always be alone, unlike some other types that flutter around in pairs. He told me and convinced me that there was ONLY ONE, that it was his pet and his name was Charlie. He always called to him. I believed him until I was old enough to know better. But even after I knew better, it always reminded me of him and his teasing. Always made my heart smile.

He passed away of a misdiagnosed cancer two years ago. I was given, and gladly took the task of preparing the memorial bulletin. I was afraid the music wasn't suitable and fretted over sending the program to the printer.

Running out of time, I came home and into my kitchen one afternoon knowing I had to make a decision. There, resting on my back door glass was a Red-spotted Purple. I didn't question it anymore.

A few days later I was explaining to my husband and slightly poking fun at another relative's insistence that he was visited by my uncle in a dream, when a Red-spotted Purple swooped from the side of the highway onto my windshield and up and over the car.

I never poked fun again at anyone.

Several days after the memorial service as I walked a trail I do daily to my barn, I saw another resting on the walkway. Just a reminder. I'm sure they were always there. I just hadn't looked for them in years as I do now.

Today, one badgered me, swooping over my head and fluttering around and I realized, though I hadn't thought of it yet this year that we are approaching the 2nd anniversary of his home going.  He still finds a way to tease me.

I am thankful for these gifts and reminders. Rest peacefully, Rickey. We miss you.

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