The Monarch

I hung a few things on the clothesline today when something against the clear blue sky caught my eye. It was high up in the air almost to the top leaves of our Black Walnut tree that stands nearly 70' tall. Then I recognized the orange color as that of a Monarch Butterfly. I had never seen one so high and wondered about it for a second. Then another came towards it. Mates I thought and I finished hanging my laundry. It crossed my mind to think of those close to me who have passed. Butterflies always make me think of those who have died.

Later, I went on an errand and stopped by my favorite cemetery. I had been looking for a particular grave site for months and thought I would check to see if the caretaker was in to guide me to the site. On my way I was noticing lots of monarch butterflies in various parts of the city and even into the next town. I felt sad for them, for the weather was going to change soon and I wondered how they would survive. I got to the cemetery and FINALLY got directions from the caretaker to the grave site that I had been searching for. It was then  that I saw it. It was unmarked and it was no wonder why I could not find it all those times before. The odd thing for me on this day was this. As I walked to the site behind the caretaker I stumbled upon another burial plot. Another one I had wondered about for years. Like an open door greeting me here it was. Overgrown with lawn and flush with the ground a simple stone marker lay there quietly.  Nothing around it to mark a family name.

...and I recalled a story.....

My mother was thirty five years old and stood in the kitchen somber and stoic. My impression of her at the age of 11 was cold.

 I heard her say "hello?" when the phone rang, and then nothing more until she said" thank you for calling"  and "goodbye."

It was my first glimpse of death since I was two. I took all the emotion I saw in her and tucked it away for when the day would come when I would need to copy it and be cold too. My mother closed the bedroom door and it wasn't until supper time that I learned why she looked like she had when she hung up the phone.

She had had my brother, now nine months old, earlier that year and her best friend had had a baby boy too. It was the year after John F. Kennedy had been assassinated so both boys were named after him. Elaine was my mother's friend since they were children, and all of their children including me grew up together as friends too. We shared in birthday parties and Brewster beach summers.

"Last night Elaine had put the baby down, and then went into the kitchen to make Franklin a cup of coffee" my mother began , relaying the story to my father as she set the table. Then she continued,  "as she brought the cup of coffee into the living room she collapsed on the floor." I felt my eyes widen. I thought to myself that doesn't happen to moms. "She had a brain hemorrhage" and she ended the story matter of factly. It was never discussed again.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about a fire that I witnessed when I was five. I wrote about the person the house belonged to, and I wrote about the house where I was attending a birthday party. I wrote about how all those pieces of a puzzle came together again when I was eighteen. I thought it was strange then but it is even stranger today.
Today the grave sight I was looking for was of the owner of the burned out house. Stranger than that was the one I stumbled upon, for that one was of the owner of the birthday party house. Doris was her name. They lie just across the grass from one another obscurely hidden from each other and from me. Until today when they are rising up to meet me all at the same time some forty years later. beckoning me. What are the odds? Coincidence or fate?

The most curious surprise was the burial marker next to the owner of the birthday house. It was Elaine's. It made me wonder why she wasn't buried next to her husband Franklin. It made me wonder too why Doris the owner of the birthday house wasn't buried next to her husband. It made me wonder about the stories buried and lost forever.
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2 comments:

Diana said...

It's all very curious and interesting. Yet some things I guess are never meant to know.
It's strange how these kinds of memories pop up after so many years.
Love Di ♥

Andrea L - EnchantINK said...

I think you might need to write a book ... Donna & share all these memories! (I think I have suggested that before!) I so wish I had memories like you! Perhaps I just need to try harder! Hugs xxx