Yo, Death, That's No Sting-It's a Butterfly!

I am sitting in the parlor of the assisted living facility, talking to my sister-in-law. She is asking some very good questions. Questions I had not even considered. Like: Where will people gather after Dad's funeral? Will that happen at the church? When will we hold the funeral? Immediately? What's the rush? Should we allow time for out of town relatives to gather?

I am very thankful my sister-in-law is so organized because these are things I have not even begun to think about.

And then I look up, out through the front windows of the parlor.

There stands my 19 year-old, Goth-Is-Not-Dead niece, waving and smiling at me.
She is wearing a tight, black shirt with red sequined cherries. She walks through the front door, a bouncing bull's eye, and rounds the corner into the parlor...This is when I notice there are huge, black gossamer fairy wings attached to her back.

My brain simply will not accept the reality of what I'm seeing.

I am sitting in a conservatively furnished, faux living room, and my niece is hopping hop and down in front of me wearing fake fairy wings.

"Aren't they great? They were at Walmart! Can you believe it?"

I stare at her, slack jawed.

"Is Mom in with Grandaddy?" she asks.

I manage to nod but she is already skipping away from me, heading down the hallway toward my father's room.

I am the deer caught in the family headlights. My poor brain can't even think to stop her. And by the time reality catches up with me, it is too late.

The black angel of death is already dancing at the foot of my father's bed.

Later, after I tell my sister in law I can't concentrate on funeral luncheon arrangements because our niece is Evil Tinkerbell, I walk back into Dad's room. There she sits, in the green recliner, wings outspread against the back of the chair...but she's no longer smiling.

Later, I tell my sister all of this. I say, "I was worried she'd scare Dad, you know, cause she looked like the black angel of death."

Becky smiles and shakes her head knowingly. "Oh, no- He loved it! He thought she was a butterfly!"

Family. Can't live with 'em, can't rip their heads off!

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