Dealing with the death of a loved one during the holidays can be extremely difficult. My friend, Karen Chicky Scott, passed away on April 9th, 2014. Her memorial service was held at Sleepy Hollow State Park.
Recently and during the period of our unseasonably warm weather, I found myself on the road traveling up 127 headed towards St. John’s, Michigan. I had been having a feeling deep within my heart to go back to the place that I last saw her. Well, not really but I did get to sit by her ashes that were inside a box.
I was so emotionally spent. Karen was in and out of the hospital. She would always tell me how much better she felt. She hardly complained about much.
My day started out at the Secretary of State. I had to get new plates for my vehicle and still had to get some additional documentation. It was a funky kind of day. It was a day that could have been irritating but I was just trying to move past it or move through it. I made an appointment online so I did not have a long wait.
I had no idea where I was going or how long it would take me to get there. I remembered the last trip but as I started driving, I realized that I really did not. I failed to mention that I started with a quarter tank of gas. The day was beautiful and even though the roads were winding and it was only supposed to be about 27 miles, I felt like I was driving forever.
I marveled at how I did not look at my gas gauge. Usually the fact that I had a quarter tank would have caused me anxiety. During this ride it did not. I was on a mission.
There were several times that I said, “Once I pass this curve and it is not there, I am turning around.”
The last trip I remembered a small white church that looked like it should have been on the historical register. I did not turn around. I kept winding my way towards the park. I passed two churches on the way and I finally made it to my destination. From the entrance it seemed like it took two miles to get to the beach.
I am not sure why it seemed so magical to me. I felt as though the stillness of it all was unreal.
When I returned home, I posted to Facebook: “....I am getting goose bumps just typing this. I know all about your (Karen) struggles, you told me. I prayed for peace in the lives I know that are disrupted. I found several feathers. And the peace today was so beyond comprehension. The water and the air were still and enveloping. I just walked up and down the shore collecting rocks and feathers. On my way out I saw the most beautiful yellow butterfly. I know you would have told me to look it up so this is what I found: A yellow butterfly symbolizes hope and guidance. In early Christianity, it was a symbol of the soul. In Scotland and Ireland, a yellow butterfly near the departed means the soul is at peace. The butterfly is a symbol that is valued in the Native American culture. You were my best friend and obviously still are trying to make everyone feel better.”
Do what you need to do to remember those you adore. And do not care about what people think about the way that you choose to do that.
Printed in the November 27 - December 10, 2017 edition.