80: Conduit for a Dragonfly

80: Conduit for a Dragonfly

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles

Conduit for a Dragonfly

The union of heaven and earth is the origin of the whole of nature.

~I Ching

My job advising medical providers gave me the opportunity to drive through twenty-three sleepy, cozy, friendly counties in southeast Georgia for over ten years. My territory included towns with everything from blueberry festivals to rattlesnake roundups. Over time, many of the people I called on for business became friends.

One day, I found the office manager at one office having a quiet day because the doctor was on vacation. Leslie and I sat on two soft leather chairs in the doctor’s inner office in front of a grunting antique fax machine. She asked me if I would do my presentation while she worked on a fax. As she fed the paper in one sheet at a time, we talked.

After my presentation, we had time to talk about our families, and I shared with Leslie how my married daughter had suffered an injury that resulted in a rare nerve condition that left her in constant pain. Leslie listened patiently. She was sympathetic and understanding, as no person had ever been to me before. When she spoke, I was surprised when she revealed that her own daughter also had a terrible disease, and it was my turn to listen, understanding better the reason for our connection. We were bound by our despair and our helplessness to do anything about our daughters’ medical problems.

I was preparing to say soothing things to Leslie about how we needed to have hope and the courage to endure, when I heard the end of her last sentence, “. . .and we lost her four years ago.” All I could do was blurt out, “Oh no!”

I had no soothing words for her. I felt the painful distinction between our common ground; my daughter was alive, still able to wait for someone to find a cure . . . Leslie’s daughter didn’t have that chance. I remember very little about the rest of the visit, except that for the first time at the end of a visit, we hugged.

Several months later, my route took me once again to the office that Leslie managed. This day, I found a gaggle of medical students in the vestibule, student nurses at the window, a waiting room full of patients, and the inner office lined with people on chairs in various stages of having their vitals taken. Today would be the short and sweet version of my visit. I hit my target without preamble, gave Leslie the handout, and turned to leave.

The office was very busy. I wished I could reach out to Leslie and acknowledge that I remembered our previous meeting but I knew clearly wasn’t the time or the place. Still, I couldn’t dispel the feeling that I needed to do something more. I thought, “Give her a pin.” My mother had given me some leftover dragonfly pins she made for a local craft fair and I still had them in my car. My mom had said to me, “Just give them away to anyone as you see fit.” In addition to the pins, she had fashioned out of gift paper tiny shopping bags to hold the sparkly creations. She placed each dragonfly made of crystal beads and silver wire in the center and covered it with a tuft of tissue paper.

I continued to feel what could only be called a compulsion to give a dragonfly pin to Leslie. I didn’t want to, because I planned to give the pins to people in my immediate circle who would relate more to something made by my mother. Even so, I couldn’t ignore the nagging thought, “Give her a pin. Give her a pin.”

I thanked Leslie for her time and walked out to the parking lot. As I got into my car, the idea became a command: “GIVE HER A DRAGONFLY PIN!” I looked over at the perky points of tissue paper and picked one bag at random, relocked the car, and feeling silly, walked back into the office. I hit the buzzer at the window, and they let me in again. Leslie turned her head and looked at me inquisitively. I handed her the tiny bag. Almost apologetically, I explained that it was just a little homemade craft my mom had made and I wanted her to have one.

Leslie looked at the little bag made from wrapping paper and looked at me. I could see that she didn’t want or need this in the middle of the swirling action that was the office that day. Yet, she unwrapped the pin and held up the dragonfly. The staff around her suddenly stopped what they were doing. I felt the energy in the room change as everyone stared at Leslie. For a brief moment, I noticed her eyes had opened wider when she saw the pin. Then her face seemed to show no emotion at all. She seemed to look at the pin for an extra moment, then fastened it to her starched white collar.

The staff was still frozen in place. I started to feel I had made a bad decision. Everyone was staring at her and now at me! I couldn’t understand what was happening. Leslie saw my confusion, turned to me and said, “I never told you this, but my daughter loved dragonflies. She studied them. She photographed them. She documented all she observed. Before she died, she told me that she would communicate to me through the dragonflies; that whenever I would receive one unbidden, it would be her signaling me that she was nearby. Thank you.”

~Kathleen Pellicano

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners