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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Whine (05/23/13)

TITLE: The Beautiful Butterfly
By C D Swanson


"Would you like some crackers with that whine?"

"Oh, you better stop it right now" Barbara answered playfully.

"Okay, okay...but, seriously, the whining is a little bit over the top today, even for you,"

"Well, I didn't realize it, but keep bothering me about it, and you’ll really hear whining." She joshed.

At that precise moment a huge butterfly flew overhead. It not only was huge, but a strange color, purple, pink and orange.

"Did you see that?" Barbara asked in her inimitable fashion, eyes wide.

"Yes...I've never seen anything like that in my life."

The rest of the day was an average day at the nursing home. Barbara, the director of therapeutic activities, did what she did best, brought smiles to the resident's faces, and was the light of Bel-Air Manor. She was often teased, albeit, in a friendly way, about her sing-song voice. It sounded like whining, even when she wasn't. It was part of the charm of this extraordinary woman who was filled with compassion, and a fervent need to protect "her jewels." Her gift to the residents was the ability to offer unconditional love, and patience while advocating their rights. She was sensational.

== = == == = = == == ==
Nineteen years later…

"I'm going for my operation now," she said, in a low voice.

"You're going to be okay Barbara," I offered in a voice that didn't sound too convincing.

"I don't wanna do this, but I guess I have to..." Her voice held the familiar whine that I hadn't heard since she entered the hospital.

"You're whining, so you'll be okay. I'll be right here with your family when you wake up. We’ll all be right here Barb."

"I love you..." She said as she was being wheeled away.

"I love you too, my dearest friend." I watched with her family until she was out of sight, tears flooding my eyes.

The wait was a long one, over ten hours. She finally received her transplant,the kidneys in place. However, there were complications, and they couldn't stop the bleeding, hence the long delay, she was hemorrhaging and fighting for her life.

A need for fresh air compelled me to get away from the claustrophobic hallways that held a scent of sickness and disinfectant.

Outside, sitting on a ledge, I prayed silently for God's will to be done. In between prayer, I thought of this remarkable woman, and her beautiful soul.

In nineteen years of friendship, I'd never seen her unhappy, cruel, or bitter, despite her illness. She was upbeat, happy, positive, vibrant...and filled with faith. Although she didn't attend a church per se, she believed even more so than some of my church-going friends, and knew God. She was a courageous individual who was generous in all she did.

During my reverie, a huge butterfly appeared overhead, purple, pink, and orange. It lingered for a brief glorious moment before gliding away eventually disappearing into the clouds.

= == = ==

This is a true story...

Barbara passed away on June 13, 2008. Although it's close to five years since her departure, her legacy is all around. It's in the laughter that I share with her daughter, the compassion that reveals itself in certain people, and the love of God that is with me each and every day of my life. She was a once- in-a- lifetime-friend, I’m grateful and blessed for the time we shared as friends, and while working together as a team in the nursing home, and I rejoice in knowing that we'll meet again one day in the future...

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This article has been read 437 times
Member Comments
Member Date
lynn gipson 05/30/13
Oh my goodness, but this is a beautiful one. I would be willing to venture this is a winner, and if not it most certainly should be! Thank you for sharing this wonderful, touching story. Excellent!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/30/13
What a beautiful tribute to a dear friend. I hope you pass this on to her family as I am sure it will be cherished for a long time.

I noticed quite a few punctuation errors, especially with the quotation marks. If you use a tagline like she said, then generally at the end of said or the dialog there will be a comma.You may want to consider doing away with some taglines and instead of Barbara answered playfully. try something like: Barbara waved her hand at me and shook her head while attempting to suppress a giggle.
THat not only lets the reader know who is speaking, but also paints a picture.

I think you covered the topic in a fresh way. My heart aches for your loss but am so grateful that this wonderful lady had such faithful friends and family to help her through the tough times. Good job.
PamFord Davis 05/31/13
I really liked the way you expressed the connection between the MC and yourself. it was very real. It was a touching story and penned with love...

Keep Winging His Words!
Sheldon Bass 05/31/13
This is a very touching piece, and I think all of us have had that one person God brings into our life that just shines brighter than the rest. For two and a half years I worked at a Family Care Home and have spent much time visiting elderly folks and ministering to them at the nursing homes, so I could envision the setting well. You did a good job of painting the beautiful character of your now departed friend. Thank you for sharing this here in the challenge. I enjoyed it very much!
Genia Gilbert05/31/13
My mother-in-law used that "crackers with whine" expression to her grandchildren, and they still remember it 40+ years later. This is a great story and well written. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Dannie Hawley 06/01/13
Wow, you really pulled at my heartstrings with this powerfully touching piece! Beautifully done, a winner in my book! How precious of the Lord to let you see barbara's special butterfly when you needed His tender reminder of His Presence in the middle of the anxiety and the pain God knew would soon come to you and Barbara's loved ones!
Linda Goergen06/05/13
This story is so amazingly touching and beautifully visual and a wonderful tribute to a special friend in your life! The butterfly in the story and its meaning especially touched me, as I had a special online friend whom I had grown to love dearly, and the symbolism reminded me of her.

My friend had gotten cancer and fought it for a long time and thought she had it beat, only for it to return full force. I was upset and even questioned God why he would allow this to such a wonderful person who was a joy, not only to me, but many others, as when in remission, she would go and sit with cancer patients at the hospital and minister to them and witness of God’s healing power. When her cancer returned, she did not even live another month…but I often told how sad I was. She wrote me back and told me she was just a caterpillar on this earth, but God was getting ready to turn her into a beautiful butterfly. She even told me she had a dream and felt she was a butterfly, beautiful and free flying toward Heaven! She even wrote a poem about it before she passed and I have never forgotten it! Your story reminded me of this.

This story may have been short, but it was packed with power, so well done, I could imagine your friend’s “whine” voice and see her laughter and feel God minister to both her and you with the butterfly! What a great message in the story too, SHOWING God is there in the midst of our pain and heartbreak! I too say, in my book for sure, this is a winner!!!!