“Look for me in the orange butterflies”


Today is one year since we lost my dear friend Madison. Its taken me awhile to find the words to write this and for a long time I didn’t think I wanted to share my last days with her. Selfishly this past year I wanted to keep them to myself. Even now looking at this screen I’m praying this will turn out as beautiful as she was.

I have never lost someone so painfully before. My dads parents passed away when I was pretty young and though I have known loss this was a first for me. Something I had hoped I would never have to experience, and something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I was lucky enough to spend her last few days with her and lucky enough to spend my last day there listening to her tell me whatever she wanted. She spoke beautifully and said things that will stay with me and bring me peace forever. I think if I hadn’t had that time with her I would not have been able to grieve in such a healthy way. I am positive that God made a way for me to be there because he knew I needed it. Madison was so calm and so centered the whole time we were there, like she didn’t have a care in the world. I was able to ask her some things here and there when we had alone time but mostly I just listened. I knew in those pauses that I wouldn’t need to carry conversation because I could hear God telling me to give her the free will to direct it as she pleased and I am so glad that she did. I was getting her ready for bed and was so blessed to be able to pray over her and just ask for his peace and comfort. As I was praying I was so hoping that my words were meaningful to her. You know when you are just so desperate to say the right things? Gosh I can still remember I was just so fixated on God guiding my words. I wanted this prayer to be the best for her. She was so gracious and just soaked it all in and it seemed that in all of this what she wanted most was to be a comfort to ME. I could tell she was so at peace with Gods timing of her life. We shared a lot of things I have chosen to keep to myself but one thing she said to me means more to me every day. More now than when she said it then. I had just prayed over her and was sitting on her bed next to her trying to avoid the inevitable, that I had to leave. She smiled so big at me and said “Kathleen I am so excited.” I must have worn my confusion all over my face because she started to laugh at me. I could not fathom what she meant by this so of course I had to ask her why to which she replied,

“I am so excited because I get to meet your baby before you do.” 

I was floored. She knew we had been having trouble and wanted a baby so bad and here she was at the end of her life and ready to meet our child with so much joy. This year has brought me a lot of pain in experiencing such a huge part of my life without her. Not being able to call her when we had first kicks, first sonograms and an incredible birth and gender reveal. Its hard for me sometimes to remember that she is still seeing it. But there is no coincidence here in my mind. She said this to me in August and at the end of September I got pregnant. So I know she has met Blair. I also know she has met Emery. My daughter was fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who died to know her. This God of mine gave Blair the send off of a lifetime, with someone who was so anxious to send her to me. Every day I fall more and more in love with my daughter and every day I selfishly wish that I would have been there to see them meet. I wish she was here to see me be a mom, and that we could do it together. I think of her constantly and though I can never replace her I am so lucky to have so many people who remind me of her. Reese and Rhett are such small pieces of her in such beautiful ways. The way Reese laughs and the way Rhett blushes. I am so lucky to love them. I am so lucky to know Taylor, Kristina, and Cole. For the relationship I have developed with Maddies mom Tracy, who is such an amazing example of Madisons love for others. She stepped right into the role Madison played in my life. She is always giving me the advice I know Maddie would, she checks in on me in the same selfless ways and she’s a little piece of someone I miss terribly. Someone who though she lives far, loves my daughter like I know Madison would. For that I am blessed and eternally grateful.

Madison told Taylor that if she missed her to “look for me in the orange butterflies.” It seemed fitting that after she passed away there was an outbreak of orange monarch butterflies in south texas, and only Madison could have sent one of those to me in florida.  So although I miss her every day that passes I know she is just patiently waiting for us to join her, because if you asked Madison about heaven she would tell you just as she told me.

“Kathleen, if people only knew what heaven was like no one would be afraid to die, and I am not afraid.”



2 thoughts on ““Look for me in the orange butterflies”

  1. Such a most poignant and beautiful tribute to your Maddie. Isn’t it amazing the way God allows things in our life, like your being able to have time with her before she left this earth. Something she said really caused me to stop and think. I lost my darling older sister in a tragic way many years ago.She was my best friend, 42 years old, and 2 years older than me. It was about 2 years after she died, when I was outside on a beautiful spring day, “pining away” for my sister, and thinking how wonderful it would be if I could just see her ONCE more. As I was there outside, a beautiful, large, swallowtail butterfly showed up, circled around my head, TOUCHED MY RIGHT CHEEK, and then flew away! I looked up to Heaven and said, “Thank you, Lord”. I knew right away that HE had sent me that beautiful butterfly to bless me, give me some peace, and bless me through the rest of my life….EVERY time I saw a butterfly. So…yes…you will see her “in the orange butterflies” as you did right after her passing. Bless you, as you remember with great love and gratitude, your dear friend, Maddie.


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