An all-black butterfly

Yesterday, I saw a big, black butterfly with two little red dots on the tips of its wings, and I stopped in my tracks. Butterflies are an important symbol in my family — my grandmother and her 6 sisters formed The Butterfly Club while the 4 brothers were off fighting in World War II. I’ve seen lots of monarchs around here, which I love, but seeing that all-black one. I just got an icky feeling. Something has happened to someone….

Today, we got the news that the last of the four brothers passed away peacefully in the hospital in Florida. Uncle Frankie was sitting on the side of his bed, then just reclined and passed on. From the original 11 siblings, we only have two still with us. I like to think that Uncle Frankie was welcomed by his brothers and sisters and that they’re all sitting around a big table eating my grandmother’s meatballs and braccioli, the wine is flowing, and they’re all very happy to have Frankie with them again. Some very cool things about Uncle Frankie: he made the newspapers at age 80 for chasing down a pickpocket and getting his wallet back. He played softball in a league well into his 80s. During a family visit, he lifted my brother up to pick an orange from his orange tree in the backyard. Considering that Steve was 25 at the time…just kidding! Steve was about 4, I think. Uncle Frankie was part of The Greatest Generation, those who thought of others before themselves, and he loved my grandmother dearly…called her ‘my Rosie.’ Such a close and loving, protective family with kind, kind souls. They never had much materially, but they were rich beyond measure. Rest in peace, Uncle Frankie. And enjoy those meatballs…

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