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The poets, of which I am occasionally one, might see a beautiful butterfly flitting among wildflowers and compare its wings to the gleam of jewels. But when the setting sun comes through my bedroom window and shines on the butterflies I have on my wall, that description isn’t figurative.

My great-grandmother loved butterflies. She’d collect almost anything with a butterfly on it. But her favorite items, and the ones she had the most of, were butterfly pins. She wore one every day, pinned to the left side of her blouse. When she passed away, her family members chose their favorites from the collection to keep. She had so many, most of us have several.

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I recently sewed a hanging banner of sorts to display my pins on. Even when I’m not wearing one, I can still see the glittering wings of my great-grandma’s butterflies.

My great-grandma was a very special lady. She inspired and encouraged my creativity and love for old things. I now treasure many of the same hobbies and collections as she did. If home is where the heart is, then she made anywhere she went home for her family.

I’ve lived in the same house since I was four years old, but I still know what homesickness is. Whether its Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, I often find myself longing for the gatherings we used to have at her house. Her birthday was in August, so this month also tends to bring back memories.

I am fortunate enough to have so many things that belonged to her to remember her by. The butterfly pins are just a small portion of the treasure she passed down to me. I imagine it must be difficult for people who have lost a loved one and are left with nothing but memories. Even with all the things I have, there are still things I regret letting go of.

But, while I would have been sad to not have her pins and will never get rid of them, I’ve realized that there would still have been ways to remember my great-grandma all around me.

Every time I go out – especially in the spring and summer – and see clothes, jewelry, or décor featuring beautiful butterflies, I think of my great-grandma. Sometimes it transports me back to her house and I feel a bit of happy hominess.

Whenever you look around you, don’t forget to look for memories of things and people you loved. We are surrounded by things that have meant something to other people, and those things can become meaningful to us if we just notice them.

I used to think the reason my butterfly pins are so special is because my great-grandma had touched them.

Now, I realize that they are special because of the way she touched my life.


On Glittering Wings
by Lindsay Christianson
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