The Butterfly Gift

The Butterfly Gift

From A 5th Portion of Chicken Soup for the Soul

The Butterfly Gift

My four-year-old daughter Adina got up early one Sunday morning. We sat on the kitchen floor making figures out of plasticine—a man, a horse, a dog and a chicken. I went to my den after breakfast to do some reading. Adina followed and said, “Daddy, let’s make something.” I said, “Okay, honey. You tell me what you want to make and we’ll make it.”

She returned after much thought and said, “Daddy, let’s make a butterfly.”We used a 3" x 5" card and I showed her how to make the shape of the wings. She colored for the longest time and then we made a base so the butterfly could stand up by itself. She was very proud of that little butterfly, and when she showed me her finished work of art, I said, “But, Adina, the butterfly doesn’t have a mouth!”

She worked a little longer and made a mouth with a tongue hanging out of the corner. We laughed as we set the butterfly on my desk and went outside to enjoy a beautiful autumn day.

Late that night, Adina woke and called out, “Daddy, I gots a headache. I don’t feel so good.” She was running a fever. The next day her mommy took her to the doctor, then we all went to the hospital where it was diagnosed that Adina had spinal meningitis.

It hit her hard. Five doctors worked all night to save her life, but by six o’clock Tuesday morning, Adina was gone. Life was over.

The next morning, I went to my den to start making some funeral arrangements for my little girl. I was tired, angry, frustrated and defeated. I was totally lost. All my efforts in life seemed so futile and the balance of life so fragile. How could this possibly happen?

Then I saw it. On my desk was that incredibly beautiful butterfly. The multicolored wings, the big round eyes, a tongue sticking out at the world, and, behind it all, blue skies. A symbol of love, beauty, and a positive outlook on life. It was an unbelievable life-altering gift from Adina to me.

Adina left so many things behind. She left marks on the windows where she gave me “window kisses” every day when I left for work. She left paths of finger marks in her new sandbox I had just built for her. She left her new swing blowing in the breeze. But the most significant gift Adina left for me was her butterfly.

I wear a butterfly ring on my finger as a constant reminder of the importance of the relationships with the people we love. Life is for living, caring, hoping and sharing with the people we love. Sometimes those lives are very short. Let butterflies always remind you of the importance of the relationships with those you love.

Wayne Cotton

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