Soul Sister

Eastern Comma Polygonia comma

Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma)

Recently, I received the call that I knew would come sooner or later from one of my ‘soul’ sisters. The medical team are stopping her chemo, her tumors aren’t responding and hospice has been called. Only a little over a month ago she celebrated her 57th birthday.

Through tears, we spoke of her sadness at leaving her children behind, not being able to see them grow up, graduate and build lives of their own. She is not afraid of death, her greatest pain is the dreams left unfulfilled in a life that cruelly seems too short.

Our conversation was brief as she had to answer another phone call. Standing in the kitchen looking outside at the beautiful spring morning, I wept. Life is like this, I told myself. Time to put on my big girl pants. She will be my first close peer to die and like anything new, the territory takes getting used to.

I stepped onto the deck, took a deep breath and looked at the trees waving in the breeze, listened to birds singing their spring songs; the world all around me in a state of renewal and regeneration, seemingly at odds with what I am facing.

A movement caught my eye and I saw an orange butterfly alight on a quartz stone placed at the edge of the garden bed below me. “Of course,” I thought with a brief smile, “I can count on Spirit to always send me a sign and here it is, a butterfly, the symbol of soul transformation.” Its message was one of comfort, “Things are as they should be, be at peace.”



About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
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78 Responses to Soul Sister

  1. cindy knoke says:

    “I can count on Spirit to always send me a sign and here it is, a butterfly, the symbol of soul transformation.” Its message was one of comfort, “Things are as they should be, be at peace.”
    Loveliness Eliza!

  2. Eliza, I hope the writing helps. I must tell you, my younger brother died equally soon after diagnosis last October, he was older than your friend. But, the reason I am telling you is that he told my sister in law he would come back as a butterfly. Soon afterwards, she was out walking with my nephew. Not a time when she would expect to see one, a similar butterfly dropped onto the footpath in front of them.

  3. georgetteann says:

    This heartbreaking and beautiful. Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal experience. Hugs. 💕

  4. Kina says:

    Oh, I am so sad for you. Your message is a timely sign for me after a tearful morning of woes regarding house owner things. Time for me to put on my big girl panties and realize how blessed I am , considering. Thank you.

  5. kp says:

    Eliza: How incredibly hard; to know you are going to lose a close friend before you are ready; and to support her as she comes to terms with her loss. I am glad to know that you can find comfort from the the signs from Spirit; that you can hold on to the belief that there may be some bigger plan in which all things make sense. Hugs from Kim

  6. It is never the right time to lose someone you care about. Your visiting butterfly is a beautiful symbol. And, I always imagine that so many special people in my life are at a better destination and just waiting for a visit from me when it is my turn to go. I wish peace to your friend and her family.

  7. Cathy says:

    That is so very sad Eliza. I wish you strength and peace too.

  8. Treah says:

    I’m so sorry for the sadness & loss you are beginning to feel. As we look at the large picture of the Universe, we can see how all is in balance & perfect. However, the parts of the larger whole that scrape against our hearts are wrenching sometimes. May K.’s presence in your life carry many blessings forward during your life.

  9. Prayers of grace and mercy cover you and your loved one Eliza…

  10. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    I can only echo what others have said Eliza – the news from your friend is heartbreaking but you have told your story so eloquently and given us all hope in the shape of the beautiful Coma.

  11. arlingwoman says:

    Ah, Eliza, I’m sad for you and sorry for your friend’s losses. A few years ago I lost a very good friend to cancer as well. It was tough. Following the spirit in the next few weeks will help you through.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Yes, it is tough to watch someone go through a battle with cancer. One day at a time, one step in front of the other, that’s all we can do.

  12. Maria F. says:

    I agree, the butterfly is a symbol of harmony. My heart goes out to you and your friend, Eliza…

  13. This is beautiful, Eliza, thank you for sharing the story, and thank you for this inspiring photo. I’m so sorry this sadness has come to you, Eliza, and will be thinking of you, and your friend. May she experience special blessings in the time remaining to her. Giant hugs, WG

  14. Such sadness to face the knowledge that someone you love will leave you sooner than either of you want. I’m 57 this year and my treasured soul sisters will be getting an extra hug at book club tonight. Much love to you and your soul sister.

  15. Val Boyko says:

    Sending light and lightness … and butterflies along with radiant nature to soothe you and your friend on this part of your journey.

  16. derrycats says:

    So sorry Eliza. What a hard time for all. My thoughts are with you and your friend. Debra

  17. So sorry… This is so sad! Sending you blessing and strength; and a little sunshine.

  18. Laurie Clark says:

    Oh Eliza, I am so sad for you and your friend. I have been through this way too many times in my 58 years. Just last week it was a 55 year old friend died suddenly of a heart attack leaving two kids. I have come to rely on all types of signs from those who left too soon. Different signs for different people. Cardinals for my mother. They practically come right up to me at both houses. Coins for a love who died at 54 which I find in the most unexpected oddest places. I’ve had strange things happen like rosary beads left on my car mirror. Too many calls over the years of people gone from this earth. One friend was so thoughtful of me she had her ashes released in the ocean ten minutes from my house so I visit her often. And every time a seagull is there. Yes it is the beach, but the seagull was her special bird and her sign to me. This I know and you will too. I hope it brings you comfort as it brings me. Laurie

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Laurie, so nice to hear from you. Thanks for your understanding. I know tragedy has visited you way too often over the years. It just makes us appreciate the blessings of every single day all the more. Hugs to you.

  19. Jewels says:

    Beautiful and touching. So sorry to hear about your precious friend and soul sister, Eliza. Sending hugs, love and light. To you and to her and her loved ones. ❤

  20. mk says:

    This is so close to home, it’s hard to hear. It takes great courage to face sorrow with tenderness and acceptance, and to be there for your soul sister. I would be so grateful if I should have a good friend like you to help me along the last leg of my journey. Blessings to you & your friend, and thanks for such a generous post.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, it is a hard road and I know it is close to home for you as well. I can’t say that there is much I do for her, other than just be there if she needs me. What else can one do in such a situation? Pray, and have faith that there is a bigger story going on here.

  21. Kathy Sturr says:

    I am so sorry for this difficult time Eliza but I can tell you have a great spirit within you. I am happy for the transformation of a soul. It seems like we don’t celebrate it the way butterflies do – but there are glorious, painted, magical wings. Peace be with you and your friend.

  22. It’s so very difficult to lose someone, no matter the age, whether family or true friend. My Dad passed away last year following a many-year struggle with Lewy Body Dementia. It was a difficult time that was made easier through the love and comfort of friends and family, and through our good memories of him. I’m wishing you that same love and comfort. There’s an old song by Bobby Goldsboro, I’m unsure of the exact title, but part of the refrain goes “across my dreams with nets of wonder, I chase the bright elusive butterfly of love”. Very fitting.

    2 Corinthians 5:6-8 is always a solace in these times. “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words of comfort. Despite the knowledge that we all are destined to return ‘home,’ the parting is, as Shakespeare put it, “such sweet sorrow.” Another thing that life presents that we must learn to accept.

  23. Sharon says:

    I’m sorry about your friend, dear Eliza, and I’m sorry for you and for her family. Nothing to do but let the sadness wash over you until it retreats and you find something peaceful and meaningful in its place. The butterfly and wildflower are a perfect metaphor. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Sharon. Yes, release is a necessary part of life. I like your idea of finding something peaceful & meaningful as we walk this path.

  24. Jenna Dee says:

    Sending love and tenderness to you in your time of sadness. ❤ Jenna

  25. dorannrule says:

    I am so sorry you are facing the loss of a dear friend Eliza. Your words and the butterfly image say it all and say it well. Let the tears fall and keep listening and looking for the wonders of a lifetime.

  26. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    Aw, Eliza…so sorry. It is so hard to lose a friend. Though many beautiful signs and symbols give comfort, it is still heart wrenching. It comes in waves – some tidal, some a little smaller. In time, you will think of her with more smiles than tears, but in the meantime, love your pain. The depth of your pain is the depth of your love for her in your beautiful heart. Blessings to you. I will be thinking of you with heartfelt tenderness.

  27. Oh Eliza, what sad news–I’m so sorry. But I’m glad you’ve found a bit of solace.

  28. Robbie says:

    I have been trying to catch up with blogs the past week. I am sorry, I missed this post. I truly understand….15 years ago, I was faced with this call in my life journey. It did not turn out that way for me and I went on but every day, I see as a blessing. I am sooo sorry for your friend. I turned 57 this year + I never thought I would see my son graduate elementary school. I do believe in hope, for sometimes it can surprise you and the cards turn. I just attended my sons M.S. degree + tears did well up in my eyes, for I know how blessed I am…my heart goes out to your friend + to you…..I always believe in miracles..they do happen….but I can’t explain why some go and some is not up to us but I can say—don’ t ever stop believing in miracles… prayers are with you…..

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you so much Robbie. I am very sad about losing my friend, it was so hard to see her struggle these past few visits.
      I am heartened by your success story. I, for one, am very grateful that you are here! 🙂

      • Robbie says:

        I am glad to be here but who stays and goes has always made me sad:-( How long has she been dx? Is there any experimental tx that she may try or is it not a possiblity

      • Eliza Waters says:

        She’s been going to Boston Dana Farber, one of the best in the country. It is a rare and very aggressive cancer that started 3 years ago. Chemo worked for 2 years, but it spread last year and they weren’t able to contain it. Such h-ll.

      • Robbie says:

        I am so sorry:-(

      • Eliza Waters says:

        It only makes me more determined to appreciate and love life each and every moment. Enjoy the gift while we can.

  29. Robbie says:

    I am sorry to ask or pry-but they are discovering new tx every day. I know a lady that has a very rare form of cancer and they have kept her going and each month there is a new discovery. So much more hope for cancer patients today since they are exploring a lot of new tx. She loves to garden and it helps her keep going:-)

  30. Rebecca says:

    I am so sorry to hear of the illness of your friend and soul sister. I will be thinking of you.

  31. Robin says:

    I am sorry about your soul sister’s illness, but love that the butterfly brought you a measure of comfort and peace. Sending you hugs and soothing thoughts to help you through this.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Robin. I’m seeing her this afternoon and bracing myself for the continued downward spiral…so tough to see from one who was once so vibrant. Saying that final goodbye is never easy. 😦

  32. Debra says:

    Beautifully said. So sorry about your friend’s illness. I bet she appreciates that you listened to her instead of doing the denial thing people always seem to fall into.

  33. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    How did your visit go this afternoon?

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Oh, Mary, how thoughtful of you. It is sad to see her like this. She is near her transitioning. Singers came to beautifully serenade her, voices like angels. Many friends around, holding her, talking to her, even though she is unresponsive, we know she is hearing us. Love will guide her out. Thanks for thinking of me at this sad time.

      • Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

        What a beautiful way to go out. She is indeed blessed. The sadness of losing someone close paired with the gratitude for the love is such a deep experience. Everyone close to her will be changed in some way by this – and I imagine that in a good way, though so so so sad. Big love to you, Eliza.

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Thank you for your kindness, Mary.

  34. This is so beautiful. I’m sorry to read of your pain and the pain of all shattered or hurt by this situation. But it’s so comforting to acknowledge the beauty all around us that still exists even after a devastating loss and in the midst of an impending loss.
    This post is full of so much gentleness and delicate beauty. I somehow missed it when you posted it before. Thank you for sharing so much light & love! Hugs to you!! ❤

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