The night before the funeral, Max and I thought of some possible music dedicated to her. Uncle Kevin was very helpful and brought over some CDs. He went back home to prepare for his speech, which he had nearly finished writing. I noticed Max had started writing one too. I was very surprised because at times he found it hard to express words on paper, but it all just came flooding out. It was almost poetic and when he read it out to me it was just beautiful. I already had a clear idea of my speech – just was more reminiscent.
He then found one of mum’s cd’s which was a well known Irish singer. We started listening to track one which he was a bit unsure of until we got all the way to track number eleven. It was an instrumental piece. It sounded so peaceful and tranquil but there were certain elements of it and I have no idea why, but it really tugged at the heartstrings. He slowly sat back down and was silent for a moment. I looked at him and eyes started to water. ‘That’s the one..’ his voice broke. I went over and hugged him. ‘It’s beautiful, Max’, I said softly.
The funeral service was lovely. It was so hard but everyone did really well. My close friends, and some of my colleagues came out of the kindness of their hearts. One lady wanted to come to the funeral just to see me and give me a hug. That meant a lot. We had the wake back at home and we all looked at the family photos. Both sides of the family like most families, will only meet once or twice in a blue moon or at family events but everyone seemed to get along.
Everyone left to go home after a couple of hours and the rest of us, Uncle Frances and Yvonne and their family all headed to go to a pub, which was a 10 minute drive and we spent some more quality time talking about mum. Max’s friends joined us not long after and everyone was laughing and joking. As the evening passed with endless chatter and drinks were flowing, high emotions started to get the better of us and I felt like I needed to get things done, which was making me feel guilty. But Auntie Yvonne insisted that I’d leave it for a little while, and that we’d come back to their place and have a few days break. There were times that I wished I had more discussions with my mum about the future, in terms of preparing and knowing what to do in case anything worse was to happen to her. But to be honest, no one really wants to talk about these things because you never think anything will happen. I felt a little bit like a child as a result of this and that’s why I’ve now had to grow up really quickly…
We drove back. Yvonne was the only sober one and after what seemed like a long journey, we eventually walked in the door and all headed to bed.
It was a nice change of scenery, just spending a few days relaxing. We spent some time visiting our cousins and their families. Until one evening at one of our cousin’s house something amazing happened.
We got invited to go round my cousin Dan’s barbecue. It was a sunny afternoon and we all had food in their conservatory. We all helped ourselves to delicious burgers and amazing salads and even pizza all laid out on the table. Music was played in the background and it was just an all round good atmosphere. Later on, I looked at the clock and it was exactly 8pm. The evening died down and everyone was in different areas of the house relaxing and chatting away. My brother opened the door to the conservatory and went out for a cigarette. It was quite dark so seeing the flame on his lighter was quite bright. It must have just been a few moments when he then called everyone to come outside. ‘Look everyone!’ I saw him slowly turn around and he was holding out his hand. It was a butterfly! And not just a butterfly, it was the one that I saw with mum back at the hospice. A Red Admiral.
Everyone gasped in shock and surprise. ‘Wow!’ I said in amazement. ‘Max,you never see butterflies at night. That is quite rare….’ It then fluttered out of his hand and we all watched it in amazement fly to the big hand on the clock. And it just rested there.
‘She’s here..Theresa’s still with us’. Yvonne said softly. I looked at Frances who was just quietly gazing at it and in deep thought. I could see he was trying not to get upset. This was a sign. Mum is definitely with us. Her spirit is still around wherever she is. Maybe this explains all the butterflies we were seeing and never took much notice of. I did a little research before and they’ve been labelled as a symbol of messengers and hope.
This is why I now strongly believe that there is more after life. There just has to be more, as life is too precious and really short. I’d like to think that you go into another realm somewhere – whether it’s in the universe or somewhere completely different that we’re not aware of exists. I feel that our consciousness, our ‘awareness’ still exists after we die. But until we find out what exactly happens and where it goes, we will never know….