98: The Gift of the Bumblebees

98: The Gift of the Bumblebees

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Amazing Mom

The Gift of the Bumblebees

Love is missing someone whenever you’re apart, but somehow feeling warm inside because you’re close in heart.

~Kay Knudsen

Since my mother’s passing, I had been searching for a sign from her. I prayed every day for a sign that she was still watching over me. I also wanted to know that she was happy and free of the burden of Alzheimer’s disease.

My mom loved children, especially her children and grandchildren. She was loving and silly with all of us. She was known for holding her finger high in the air and twirling it down to them, making a zzzzzz sound and tickling them wherever she could find a spot. It stuck with me so much over the years that I continued to do it to my own daughter, and now my grandchildren. I tell them each time when I do it that it’s what my mother used to do to me, and now I get to do it to them.

Shortly after I began praying for a sign, I started to see bumblebees wherever I went. I’m talking about those big, fat, black ones with thick, yellow stripes. All of a sudden, they appeared everywhere—flying in my yard, hovering near me, and once even following my grandson and me in a playground. It was never a couple of bumblebees together—it was always a single one.

I noted the connection between the buzzing bees and the tickle game my mother would play, and I decided that was my sign. I even began saying “Hi, Mom” every time I saw one. But I still had my doubts. Was this Mommy giving me a sign? Or was I just reading too much into a few bumblebees?

I also began to feel that I needed to “honor” her in some way. But how? I wanted something that I could look at every day. I planted a tree, but it wasn’t enough. A piece of jewelry or a picture wasn’t going to cut it. So I decided I wanted a tattoo! It’s funny to think about how against them I had always been, but a tattoo would actually work perfectly because I wanted something small that was just for her and me. A tattoo on my foot was a perfect idea, and it would have to be a bumblebee. I even went so far as to draw one on my ankle with swirling lines behind it to get used to the idea.

One day following the drawing of my fake tattoo, the mail arrived. I am always getting packages, so I thought nothing of it. Once again, I had ordered another unnecessary item for my kitchen, an apron with a red-apple pattern. But someone had made a mistake and sent me an apron with a bumblebee pattern! It even looked the same as the bumblebee picture I had drawn on my ankle. And by the way, the apron arrived on my mother’s birthday!

A few weeks later, I awoke early one morning feeling down and looked out the window. A bumblebee was flying at the screen. I said “Hi, Mom,” and it landed right on the screen. It stayed there for over an hour as I sat with it, and we had a nice conversation. Visiting with that little bee filled me with happiness. I think Mom knew I needed a little help getting through that particular day because it was Mother’s Day!

I did get that tattoo after all. I designed a little bumblebee with twirling lines coming from a heart. This is Mommy. And she continues on.

My mother gave me the best gift of all that she couldn’t give me in this life: She told me in her way that she was happy and free, and she was with me.

She gave me the gift of the bumblebees.

~Patty Benz

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