Monday, March 31, 2014

A Thousand Butterfly Bites



     This post is not about butterflies. It's not about gardening either. I've been going through a bit of a bad time in my life, so this is just something I need to say right now. Earlier this Winter I had surgery for what turned out to be cancer. One of the really bad cancers. By pure luck it was removed before it had a chance to spread and I was plucked off the path to an early and horrible death. Then my Dad died, and a few weeks later, my Grandpa. Grandpa was 101 years old. His life was long and mostly happy. Not so with my Dad. He had a particularly nasty form of dementia that killed him much too young. Years ago his Mother died after many small strokes. He used to say she "died of a thousand butterfly bites". So did he.
     At my Dad's funeral, my Uncle told me that when you're given a second chance like I was, you need to do something worthy with the life that was spared. He was referring to the life of his own Father. My other Grandpa was a policeman. He and his partner were shot during a robbery. His partner died, and he should have. As he lay near death, he made a promise to change his ways if his life was spared. He lived with the bullet in his back that should have killed him for many more decades. He lived as good a life as anyone ever did.
     So now here I am, trying to wrap my head around these things and I keep thinking about the bites of butterflies. My Dad's life was taken away bit by bit. Each little bit so small that he was already gone before we knew what was happening. The grief that was rightfully ours was also stolen away in butterfly bites.
     I don't know if I could ever do enough to justify my life, but I hope to be aware now of each second and the tiny bite it takes.