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Wednesday June 19th 2019


Contest Entry Three, Why Butterflies are Important in my Life

Post Published: 24 October 2011
Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
This post currently has 9 responses. Leave a comment

My grandmother was always a huge fan of the color lavender and butterflies. When I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer, we didn’t want to tell her at first because she would have been crushed. She was so insightful, she knew something was wrong and prayed everyday that her first born granddaughter would be cancer free. On June 6th, I received the best news ever – they had removed all of my thyroid, quite a few lymph nodes and ALL of the cancer. I was cancer-free! Unfortunately, my time celebrating ended a short 9 days later, when my grandmother passed away from a massive stroke.

I was given the daunting task of reading her eulogy. Her name was Grace, and while I had so many fond memories of my Grammy, I couldn’t think of where to start. For some reason, I was drawn to looking up the meaning of the color lavender: “Lavender has long been a favorite flower and color of genteel ladies. This shade of purple suggests refinement along with grace, elegance, and something special.” That description fit my grandmother to a T! I decided, to honor her, that I would wear something lavender for her funeral. That night, while continuing to write the eulogy, my young cousin, who was 5 at the time, told me how our Grammy loved butterflies and that the day she went, his kindergarten class released butterflies into the sky. He commented that he thought they would help Grammy on her journey. Needless to say, I was choked up.

After the eulogy and funeral mass, my young cousin and I went to the cemetery. He had difficulty understanding where Grammy was, since everyone was sending her off over a “dirt in the ground.” I sat down with him and discussed Grammy’s body being tired and needing to stay with Grampy, but that her spirit was in a better place. He looked at me, confused, and asked “how do I talk to Grammy?” I told him that Grammy would always be in our hearts, but that whenever there was a breeze, it was Grammy giving us a great big hug to let us know she hears us. At that exact moment, the perfectly still air became a gentle comforting breeze and a little lavender butterfly landed on the tombstone. He looked up at me and said “Hi Grammy, thanks for the hug.”

It was an absolutely amazing experience. Shortly after, I was told that the Butterfly is a symbol for Thyroid Cancer. Everywhere I go, I see butterflies and always feel her presence with me.

A butterfly not only reminds me of the challenge I overcame in my cancer diagnosis, but reminds me of my very special my grandmother being with me everywhere I go.

I have been a thyroid cancer survivor for 2 1/2 years. I am 30 and live in Massachusetts.

Written by, Stephanie Corliss

Please vote for Stephanie in comments and don’t forget to send your entry to submissions@dearthyroid.org

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9 Responses to “Contest Entry Three, Why Butterflies are Important in my Life”

  1. Judi Corliss says:

    This is my daughter’s submission, what a beautiful story of how she overcame cancer with the love and affection of her grammy, aka “her butterfly.” I get chills thinking of that day.

  2. Lindsay says:

    What a wonderfully comforting story!

  3. Missy says:

    Beautifully written!

  4. Bree O'Brien says:

    I smiled when I saw this.. My much adored mom passed away in 2003 from Breast cancer.. Before she died, Being a very spiritual person, She promised me that if there was a way of ‘checking in’ with me .. She would..
    About 2years after she passed over, I would see butterflies when it was my birthday and also if i was going through a rough time.. Even in winter here in Ireland! I’m sure your grammy is with my mom watching over us .. Much much love xx

  5. Lori says:

    what a beautiful story. I just lost my Dad and am heartbroken. You story touched my heart. My sweet daughter has been dealing with her Hashimotos, adjusting her meds, dealing with lousy feelings, and struggling to feel better and stay positive. She does it with grace and inner strength and I applaude her and you as well.

    I have had spiritual experiences that can’t be explained other than, love is the strongest force in the universe. As they say…”tough times don’t last, but tough people do”! Thanks for sharing. Be well and be happy!

  6. Joe says:

    Beautiful story. Touched my heart. Makes you think about stopping and “smelling the roses” to pick up on those little symbols.

  7. Sarah says:

    What a beautifully touching story! Thanks for sharing

  8. Aynslee Rakochy says:

    That is an amazing story. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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