Since today is Christmas Eve, I would like to take the opportunity to thank each and every person who has sent cards, gifts, well wishes, and prayers to me over the past nine months. I would also like to thank those who gave the gift of time, to visit, to bring food, and to sit with me during chemo and other appointments. I am not sure if cyber-space is big enough to hold all of the names or to express my gratitude. Every gift, big and small, is special to me. Some gifts however, in addition to being a thoughtful gesture, also have an interesting story behind them, and I would like to share some of these stories with you.
Butterflies and Angels:
Long before I got cancer, I felt connected to the angels. (I can get away with saying without sounding too crazy because I have cancer). In addition to feeling the presence of angels, I get signs, in particular, white feathers and blue butterflies. Since my diagnosis, the signs have become so plentiful that there is just no way they can be dismissed as mere coincidence.
While I have undergone many painful and uncomfortable procedures over the past several months, nothing can compare to the mental anguish of “waiting for test results”. That was the time when I most needed the comfort of my angels, and during that time, they took many opportunities to make their presence known, as in the story below.
The likelihood of seeing a blue butterfly in Newfoundland ranks at about the same as seeing a Zebra come out of the woods. Yet, during my “waiting” phase, I saw one in my garden, (NO! Not a zebra, a blue butterfly!) It was a beautiful day in May when I caught sight of this “neon blue” small butterfly fluttering among my tulips and daffodils. I was mesmerized by how it not only fluttered around my flowers, but also seemed to dance around my body. I ran into the house to get Ronnie, my babysitter, to witness this small miracle. As she and I talked quietly, the butterfly continued to dance around me for several minutes. It then landed on my left breast, the one with cancer, before flying off towards the water.
The very next day, Ronnie was at my house when a package arrived in the mail. It was a gift from Nancy, a teacher I had worked with. When I opened the box, both myself and Ronnie were amazed to see a pendant of a blue butterfly, which was almost an exact replica in size and color as the one we had seen in my garden the day before. I immediately sent Nancy an email message to thank her for her gift and to ask, “How did you know the significance of blue butterflies to me?” She responded, “I did not know that they are meaningful to you. I was in a store in Florida when I saw this and it reminded me of you. I left the store with my husband, but felt so compelled that I had to go back to buy it.” I believe that there is no such thing as coincidence, rather these signs are God’s way of letting us know that everything is happening according to his plan.
Pictured above is a statue of an angel holding a butterfly which Ronnie gave me as a Christmas gift. Pictured as well are the butterfly pendant given to me by Nancy, and a gold locket with two angels given to me by my sister Juana, herself an angel, who nursed me though many hard days.
This beautiful portrait, hand painted by artist Angela Hardy, was given to me by a man I’ve never actually met. The Reverend Canon Kevin George is a priest who lives in Ontario. He saw my interview on the NTV news, and since then has been so kind to me with prayers, remembering me in his service, paying tribute to me in his own blog, and now this special gift. Along with the gift was a thoughtful message…”You are an inspiration to so many. In the midst of your pain and suffering you are offering acts of love and sharing your story with others and encouraging a positive outlook. May God’s light continue to shine brightly though you, and through your witness.” Thank you Reverend, I do not feel worthy of your kind words (ask anyone who knows me, I am not THAT nice in real life!).
Tammy was a woman who grew up just a few houses away from where I grew up. Given that she was a few years older than me, I didn’t really know her as a child, but I do remember hearing about her diagnosis of breast cancer many years ago. Sadly, Tammy lost her battle with this disease and left behind two young sons. For some strange reason, yesterday I kept thinking about Tammy, and feeling a peaceful presence. Later in the day, mom arrived with a card and a gift from Tammy’s sister-in-law, Daisy, another woman from home, with whom my only connection with has been through Facebook. In her handwritten note, Daisy compared me to Tammy, which from what I know about this woman, is an honour in itself. She gifted me with this tiny bumblebee, and an even greater gift in this beautiful message which I am sure we all can relate to during difficult times: “This little box is holding a replica of a bumblebee. This winged creature has a body too heavy for its wings. It is a symbol of strength and endurance, as it should never be able to fly-yet it does! Any day you are not feeling well, look at it and let its symbolism give you the strength and endurance to persevere in the face of all odds.”
Once again, thank you to all for your generosity and kindness. Merry Christmas, and in the words of Tiny Tim: God Bless Us Everyone!
Tip: We are all given our crosses to bear in life. When we open our eyes to heavenly signs and messages, these crosses become much easier to bear.