Her Laugh Broke The Silence

Her laugh broke the silence. Anger rushed through me. My daughter’s casket had just been lowered into the ground! What the hell is wrong with her? I stared a hole through the woman without seeing her.

A gentle hand touched my shoulder. “Mom, look,” my son said, pointing at the laughing woman.

“I see her,” I said angrily. “What’s wrong with her?”

“Mom, don’t you see it?” my son said gently. “On her hand.”

I looked at the woman and for the first time realized it was my daughter’s best friend, Mandy. On the back of her hand sat a beautiful butterfly. Its brilliant blue wings raising and lowering slowly. My daughter, Nancy, loved butterflies from the first time she saw one as a toddler. Her love for them grew as she did, she even got a butterfly tattoo on her ankle when she’d turned eighteen. I raised my eyes to meet Mandy’s, her face glowed with pleasure.

The butterfly rose from her hand and flew over the group. The delicate little creature landed on my son’s head. His sad face lit with joy. “Mom, it’ll be okay. It’s a sign,” Brad said, reaching for my hand and turning it palm side up.

The butterfly gracefully flew from his head to my hand. Tears streamed down my face, completely at odds with my huge smile. Slowly I turned and knelt next to my granddaughter. “Look honey, it’s Mommy’s favorite butterfly.”

My little granddaughter laughed. The light tinkling sound mixing with the adults’ deeper chuckles. “Mommy always did wish she could fly,” she reminded me.

The butterfly left my hand, flying over family and friends gathered around. It rose into the sky and flew away. I held my granddaughter in my arms, we watched until it was invisible to our eyes. I don’t think my daughter was that butterfly, but I do think God sent a reminder of Nancy in the form of a delicate butterfly.

Author’s Notes:

I was given the prompt “Her laugh broke the silence” with the instructions to use that as the first sentence and use 500 words or less. This is what I came up with. If you’d like to use the prompt and share your story, you may link to it in the comments or paste it into the comments. Let’s keep things PG-17 please.

Butterfly on a log cabin wall
photo credit: Up against the wall via photopin (license)