why couldn’t he..
I saw a butterfly the other day….which was nothing new as I see them almost every day. It was at my window and kept flitting around so I went out on the porch to see what was going on. It kept flying by me and then settled down on the wicker chair. I walked closer and I honestly could have touched it. I didn’t for fear of hurting it in some way. This happened two days in a row. I know they say when you see a butterfly it means a loved one is near and I know how much my son loved butterflies so I think he sends them to me to let me know he is doing good and just wants me to know that he is thinking of me.
But this latest butterfly sighting just made me think back to when my son was around 6 or 7 and wanted to have a butterfly collection and hang it on his wall. We got him a net and he would catch butterflies all day long till he couldn’t see them anymore due to darkness setting in. He would then transfer them into a jar and wait for them to die so he could pin them on the board. He did this for weeks with no problems. That is until the day the beautiful large butterfly he caught would not die.
He would look in the jar and ask me why it was not dying like the rest of the ones he caught. I had no answer for this question and just told him to be patient (something he was never good at) and it would die just like the others. But it didn’t. It hung on for over a week or so and he became extremely upset that this particular butterfly was going through such a hard time. He went from wanting it to die to trying to save it. He fed it and held it and cried over it, pleading for it to live. Of course it did eventually die and with it his love of butterfly collecting.
This started a life long endeavor to save things…animals, bugs, and eventually people.. He went hunting a few times with his father and once even shot a squirrel. His father had it stuffed and he hung it in my son’s room. He could not even look at the squirrel and into the attic it went. And also it ended his hunting career. Although to appease his father he did for a short time take up bow hunting. When I asked him about it, he quietly told me he wasn’t very good at it so he knew he wouldn’t be able to kill anything.
He was always bringing home a sick animal or some kind of reptile and would try to nurse it back to health. He found a hawk one time that had broken its wing and called the park service to see what he should do, they told him they would pick it up and take care of it. I knew it was hard for him to let them take it but he did. They told him they would let him know when it was well enough to be released and that they would call him when that would happen so he could watch. He didn’t think they would do that and was so upset that he had let them take the hawk. But they did. They called him and told him it was ready to be released and he watched it fly up in the sky to freedom. He was so excited an happy when he told me about this.
His “taking care of things” didn’t stop with animals and insects. He always had a soft spot for people who needed help and he was the first one there to help a friend or relative when they needed it the most. Sometimes I wondered why he did this as these same people were never there for him. He once told me that it didn’t matter if they were there for him, all that mattered was that he was doing what he thought he needed to do. He was a very loving person and gave of that love so freely.
My son, my Dave, was a warm and giving soul. He gave so much without asking for anything in return. He saved so many in his short life of 46 years. And as I asked the butterfly that flew around me for 2 days….If he could save all these things…Why couldn’t he save himself?
”We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ~ Winston Churchill