Sunday, March 11, 2012

Painted Lady...Butterflies...

Anorexia Nervosa..the dreaded disease, the evil destroyer of beautiful young woman (and some men)...the number one killer of any other mental illness...I wish that I didn't know you so well, I wish that I didn't understand you as well as I do...although you make no sense, you have no rationale and are so complicated that you are difficult to explain to those looking in from the outside or who have not experienced your rath first hand.  I'm sure you know by now that I despise you.....


The last few years you were on this earth were so difficult, as you know...but I wanted to share a few experiences that occurred that were so good and positive after the horrible day you left us. Aside from feeling devastation, the shock of it all, and totally lost and alone....I went through the motions of what is expected of a mother who has just lost her daughter, such as making arrangements and being the host at a gathering I never wanted to attend or thought I ever would attend...but something amazing happened to me during the following few months. First of all, when we had your memorial there were people there who came that I hadn't seen in years and years. They were people, friends, acquaintances and the most shocking and wonderful of all was Mr. Watson, your 4th grade teacher. I was so blown away and overwhelmed it's hard to put into words. That day I remember standing greeting mourner after mourner who came up to us to offer their condolences. I remember thinking that I wish you could have been there to greet these same people in a different setting, like our living room or a really nice restaurant. I was really hoping that you could see all of your friends and family from wherever you were and know how much you were loved.

The fact that those last few years it seemed like you were so isolated and alone..thank goodness for Niblet who kept you company. Although she inadvertently hurt you so many times due to her shear muscular strength and your lack of it...like the time she pulled you down the stairs so fast that you hit the wall with your face and hurt your nose. Also the bruises she caused you on your legs when she was asleep and would kick out her legs and hit you. All in all she was a blessing, yet I wish you had chosen a dog more like Peanut...small, harmless and easy to control.
            I think I was just as caught up in the way things were with you and your life that I became complacent and was just accepting..... with a few pleads here and there for you to try and get help again. Over the years that became our mantra, the pleading, the begging, the harping...I know you grew tired of it.    I also know that the evil disease wouldn't let you commit to recovery at that point it was ready for the demise, it had taken it's toll on you it was almost finished with it's job, well done.


A few days before your memorial service I remember waking up and getting this brilliant idea....(that happens every once in a great while).  I thought instead of having people send flowers or donations to a certain charity, it would be nice to have some type of memorial bench in a beautiful setting. What better place would there be but The Chicago Botanic Gardens. After looking into the idea I found out that the cost of something like this would be $5000.00 for a simple bench in the Heritage Garden and $25,000.00 to be have a bench in your memory in the beautiful English Walled Garden. I figured we would go with the Heritage Garden and whatever money we needed for the balance I would just pay myself.  Amazingly I never needed to add any money, at all, since the donations came to, I think, 150.00 beyond the $5000.00....again, blown away by the generosity of your friends and family.   Sooooo, after a few months later and after about 200 thank you cards later, i got this other brilliant idea of having a memorial luncheon thanking all of the wonderful people who donated in your honor.  It was scheduled about six months later near the gardens on a rather warm day. There were several friends and family who came up and shared memories and poetry about you, a very emotional day, but so wonderful. At the end of the luncheon Uncle Jim comes up to me and offers to pay the bill for the entire luncheon at the Radisson Hotel....again overwhelmed and incredibly thankful. We then all met at the Botanic Gardens and admired your bench.....

 I should back track a bit since the whole reason I named this post Painted Lady..... Butterflies brings me to my final brilliant idea I will share with you. I thought it would be a nice idea that after the luncheon we all go over to the gardens and release butterflies in your honor. I had called the Gardens and found out that it would not be possible to bring anything like that into the gardens. Okay, so I thought of plan B where the family and a few friends would come back to the house and release them there... but first I need to tell you that I called a company in North Carolina a few weeks prior in order to get these butterflies to release. I spoke to a representative named Nancy B., she was very helpful and explained all there was to know about getting a kit with larva and growing my own painted lady butterflies to release at the day of the luncheon. I thought that would be cool to go through he whole butterfly cycle and watch them emerge from their cocoons. In the middle of the conversation with Nancy B. I mentioned they were going to be used for my daughter's memorial. After a few minutes passed it was silence, then she said, "And by the way, we will be sending you the entire kit free of charge".  I was a bit shocked and replied,"Why"? There was another silence for a moment and she said, "Because, I'm a mom".  Well, needless to say, I was again overwhelmed and appreciative that yet another person I had never even met before that day was so kind.  The whole experience just made me realize that there are still some really wonderful people in this world and I was lucky enough to be a recipient of one more. 
Chel and I really enjoyed the whole cycle of watching the butterflies do their "thing". There was just one more snag... they emerged from their cocoons about a week in a half too early, so I had to have a plan C for everything to work out right. Sooooo, we decided to have Roni, (my sister) videotape the releasing of the butterflies, in our backyard and then show the video at the end of the luncheon. Chelsey was the butterfly handler, as we called her, and she did a fantastic job.  I would have to say that things all worked out relatively well and as soon as I can figure out how to post a video I will come back and post it on this blog along with a few more pics.  In the meantime here is a photo of Roni and I sitting on your bench.....


Needless to say, I now have a butterfly fettish...also a new tatoo to be posted in the near future.....
love you and miss you unbelievably much....m

2 comments:

  1. I was looking forward to some tears but I just smile at this post knowing how beautiful all of those things were and how much we all love Monica and miss her. Thanks

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  2. i have no words.......only inexplicable emotion.....

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