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.

16 comments :

  1. I am so sorry for your recent losses, but glad that you pulled through. Time is out there and up to you how to make it count. Sounds like you are going to do just that.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Thank you Cher. Bad things happen in clumps, don't they? Seems like it's always that way. Now, just hoping for a long, peaceful time of nothing much.

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  2. There's no way to comment adequately on this very powerful post. Wishing you and your family well seems a bit bland - but I do wish you well; and hope that once the trauma and grief have passed you will enjoy your newly given life and be able to live it fully. (And long!)

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    1. That's very sweet Esther, and not bland at all. Really, it would be hard to say much more to someone you don't know. The clarity that came from taking the random thoughts from that day and laying them out in the open really helped me find meaning where I needed to.

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  3. An internet friend blogged about his experience slowing dying of colorectal cancer he even wrote a post that was released after his death. Reading his blog month after month for three and a half years taught me a lot about death, and life. I'm sure you are breaking out the champagne and screaming from the rooftops that you are alive! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Hi Melanie,
      I've kept all this to myself (and my family) up until now. Could barely stand to even think about any of it. You're very brave to read along with the dying man's story as he was brave to tell it.

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  4. Dear Kate,
    I couldn’t find words to express myself after reading your blog.
    Oh my goodness! You had a big surgery. That’s too bad. And then, your dad died. Plus, you had a way too dry winter around your area.
    Since last fall, I’ve stopped from logging in my blog as well as reading blogs.
    I was really astonished to read your blog the day before yesterday.
    Are you fine now? Are you spending a peaceful and happy life now?
    As for me, I had not taken care of my garden for several months.
    In this February, we had the heaviest snow for the first time in 100 years.
    The traffic and public service in our prefecture were paralyzed owing to the huge amount of snow.
    In this January, my brother in-law, who was 44, died from a disease.
    He had been suffering from a mental disorder for a long time after getting his job.
    Though I couldn’t do anything for him at all , his death had strengthened our family bond more.
    I have little worries about my husband which is more insignificant than your hardships, so I feel a kind of uneasy.
    However, I think I’m good and I’m trying to do something new to spend my days merrily
    Kate, I really hope you are alright and in good condition.

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    1. I'm fine Kumittyi, I really am! I hope to dodge the reaper many more times. I'm so sorry to hear about your troubles. Mental illness is so terrible, mostly because it takes the person you know and love and turns them into something else, then you have to remember them that way too. I hope your husband finds health and peace and that you find find something special that gives you joy even if you can't get out in your garden yet.

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  5. Lots of hugs Kate.
    You are strong.
    I can see how mentally strong you are in your words even we have never meet each other in person.
    Yes bad things does comes in a clump.
    My husband grandmother lost 2 brothers last year.
    Suddenly right after 100days her brother passed away, her husband died.

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    1. It's good to hear from you! So sorry to hear about your family sadness too. Thank you for telling me I'm strong. I feel much stronger just hearing it!

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    2. I can't wait to enjoy what this spring brings you from your garden.
      Is your bright beautiful daughter working on her project in Trinidad still?
      I hope she is having a wonderful time.

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    3. She is! And we're visiting her there in a few weeks!! If I can figure out my new camera I'll post some photos. I hope to have more time later in the Summer to share what's going on in the garden. It's been very warm and very dry. It's strange in May to have beans and peas and tomatoes and lettuce all growing at the same time. Usually the cold and warm seasons are more distinct.

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  6. This really spoke to me! My mother died suddenly in November, out of the blue. She was my father's main carer and he has Motor Neurone Disease which is the cruellest thing I can imagine. These last months have been harder than I have ever know and I have had hard times before. Taking the best in every day is all I have found which helps. Today it was swallows swooping and diving above my head in our kitchen garden. I hope you too can find the pleasure in the now and that your future shapes out as you would wish. That was a brave and moving post.

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    1. Elizabeth,
      I've been following your blog for quite a while, so I've known about your troubles, but didn't feel like I knew you well enough to comment. The tribute you wrote to your mother was beautiful. I'm so sorry you've lost her so soon. I wish you all the strength you'll need to get through the next few months or years. I'll be doing the same as you every day, noticing little things and feeling gratitude for each one.

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  7. I checked out of net-land for some months too, and am just getting back out there, knocking on doors and seeing who is home. So sorry you have had such hard times this year Kate!! I hope by now you are floating level and can look around and enjoy the summer. My goodness life throws challenges! We went through some wreckage too and saw others do the same and worse. Really one begins to wonder about the stars and planets... I wish you so very well and will look forward to photos of your gardens again, and of your trip.

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    1. Hi Linnie!
      Yes, I'm still here. I sure missed your oddball garden adventures during your time away. Sorry you had to go through bad times too. Not a one of can escape what fate has in store for us I guess. I'm doing fine now. Don't you worry about me. One foot in front of the other you know.

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