And If You Did Know?

In Memory of Sharon Michele McAvoy Nichols .:. December 24, 1949 – October 10, 2005

January 17, 2006

Monarch Butterfly

Filed under: goodbye — mark @ 3:00 pm

On the day of the memorial service at the botanical gardens, two things happened that have already been shared in contributions here. First, when Mark and I were waiting for guests to arrive, standing next to the table with Michele’s picture, a monarch butterfly appeared out of nowhere, figure-eighted our heads, circled the table (perhaps in approval?), circled us again, then disappeared. This for me was doubly interesting, as monarch butterflies have always held a special meaning to me, personally, and that in retrospect, I couldn’t recall seeing one “in the wild” for maybe a decade–both of which said something to me that i wasn’t capable of fully understanding.

Second was that during the second refrain of “Amazing Grace,” played by a bagpiper selected by Mark (which, because of Michele’s Scot background and that it was her favorite song could have not possibly have been more perfect) a slight gust of wind popped up, blowing over the two glass-framed pictures of Michele on the table. Neither glass panel broke, interestingly, but as I look back on it, it was kind of like a waving goodbye, or maybe closing of eyes to fully take in the moment…and like Michele, done with panache but with no damage.

Why do I share these again? I’ve talked about these two incidents with three people I know in the last two months, and all three had similar stories. The most interesting was a friend who attended the funeral of a lifelong friend who lost her battle with breast cancer, and had to make a fifty mile drive back along the California coastline back to San Diego. At the first stop, her friend’s silver bracelet, long lost, rolled out from the passenger seat of her SUV, a silver bracelet adorned with an artisan-carved ladybug. As my friend Robin resumed her course, an actual ladybug landed on her windshield, just above her windshield wiper, before she attained speed. She told me that the ladybug remained there for fifty miles, through speeds of 45 mph, twisty roads, and many stoplight stops.

I’ve watched my friend–my brother I dare say–Mark go through some challenging times these few months. All of which he’s done with a dignity and a strength that makes me respect him even more than I already did…which is no small compliment. Being human, he has some days that his inner struggles make it to his outer surface (I caught an e-mail tongue lashing once or twice, but that’s what friends are for!). But I’ve learned a lot from my friend, a lot about keeping what is important alive by never forgetting, a lot about faith in fate and karma (in the sense that one cannot control what is given to him/her, but one CAN control how he or she reacts to it), and a lot about inner strength, and how having someone truly special in your life can forge that to the point that it is so strong, it can withstand amazing pressures.

I’m at a personal point in my life when these lessons are becoming more and more important, unfortunately, but I am grateful for what Mark has shared with me, and with all of us…things that Michele shared with Mark and he is passing on to us.

Mark, I don’t know if it’s a monarch butterfly, or a ladybug, or a silent puff of wind, but you’re not alone. Not as long as those of us who have contributed here are around.

Pete Van Dyke—now in Plano TX

January 10, 2006


Filed under: goodbye — mark @ 6:24 pm

For only the second time this winter we are having snow here. It’s been very mild recently so the return to wintry weather is nice. Michele dearly loved to ride in the car at night when it was snowing. The sensation of rushing created by the swirl of flakes coming towards the car in the cone of the head lights is one of my favorites as well. If it is still snowing after dark I may go out for a short ride in the car as I know we would be doing that if she were still here.

January 9, 2006

Theme Updated

Filed under: goodbye — mark @ 7:34 am

After a couple of false starts I have managed to update the theme of Michele’s site so something more pleasing to the eye. She loved colors and textures and possessed impecable taste when it came to decorating or dress. I think that the combination of the bold floral colors and the softer pastel background colors would please her.

January 8, 2006

Three Month Letter

Filed under: goodbye — mark @ 1:36 pm

I’ve written a letter to Michele over on my site.