Two years ago my older brother Michael passed away at age 39 after a three year battle with intestinal cancer. He passed in my Mom’s house, where he had lived under her care the last couple years of his life.
Two days before he died, my Mom called to tell me he had decided to go on hospice. She thought he wouldn’t have much time; a few days at most. I had already planned a trip to California to see him for a few weeks from then. Visiting during his illness had been difficult. I lived in New York, and traveling was expensive. Cancer can have
many false alarms, and I wasn’t sure if this was another one. However, it had been eight months since I had seen him and I knew that I would have a hard time forgiving myself if I didn’t get to say goodbye. I booked a flight for the next day.
What should have been seven hours of traveling turned into 16. My first flight was delayed, causing me to miss my connecting flight. I tearfully begged a ticket agent to bump me to the top of the standby list for the next flight out. She did, but that flight was rerouted and had another connection. By the time I landed my brother had passed. I missed him by two hours.
The next day my brother David was taking me to the airport to pick up my luggage that had been lost during my travel fiasco. We walked outside to his truck, when something told me to look up. I did, and flying above my Mom’s house was a swarm of hundreds of dragonflies. This was unusual, as she didn’t live near water. I had read about winged creatures visiting after a loved one had passed. I gasped and ran back into the house to tell everyone to come look.
My family began seeing dragonflies everywhere. David had a nightly visitor for weeks that would often fly into his house and rest on his hand for a while.
I believe the universe takes care of us in ways we don’t understand. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to see him take his last breath. Maybe my last memory of him was supposed to be of the last time I saw him, smiling at Christmas time. I feel grateful now every time I see a dragonfly, like he is sending me the gentle message that he is somehow still here with me.
New York, New York