Melinda's Personalized Poetry

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        This page in dedication to 
     Ashley Dawn Nelson 
         Born January 20, 1985
        And Received Her Angel Wings
      July 20, 2004


When we see a butterfly
We know that it is you,
Just stopping by to say "Hello"
And helping us to get through.

How you say, can we be sure
That it is you, our precious one?
What will happen in wintertime
When the butterflies no longer come?

It was then, you left your charm bracelet
But only parts had been left intact,
The butterfly, and two hearts
"I'm still here, Daddy, that's a fact!"

Just stopping by to say "Hello"
Always here to help us through,
Never forget what you mean to us
And how much, "We Love You!"

In Loving Memory Of
Ashley Dawn Nelson
Who was born January 20, 1985
And received her angel wings
July 20, 2004

©Melinda Tanner



               ASHLEY’S BUTTERFLY  

Canadian Copyright # 1028122


I wish to share a recent turn of events in my life that led to what I believe is a miracle, or a reaffirmation of one’s faith.
I hope it warms your heart as it did mine.

While reading please keep in mind that all persons in this story live within a one hundred mile radius in separate
Southern Alberta rural communities.

On July 20th 2004, beautiful young 19 year-old Ashley Nelson was involved in a fatal accident on her way home
from work. Two nights later, I went to comfort her mother, Wendy, a very dear friend of mine. During our adolescence
we were very close and, together, had endured many trials and tribulations in our personal family lives. Over the past
30 years we have kept in touch. Not as often as we should have, but never losing our connection.

Wendy explained to me the meaning of the butterfly story that would be told at Ashley’s Funeral.

The previous year at Christmas, Ashley and her sister Kathleen had been given a butterfly pin and poem to
comfort them after the recent loss of their grandmother. Ashley and Kathleen truly adored their grandmother,
and were having a difficult time dealing with her passing. The saying goes…

                            Till We Meet Again.   

Even though we must be apart, know that when you hear the whisper of the wind, it will be me saying hello:
when you smell the first fragrant flowers of spring, you will feel my presence, and when you see a butterfly,
you will know I have just passed by, and I want you to remember how very much I love you. 

  Till we meet again.

Wendy told me that approximately a month before her death, Ashley had come home very excited that she had just
seen a butterfly. She was certain that it was a sign from her grandmother.

Later that evening, while we were sitting outside on the deck, a butterfly kept coming around us. It brushed against
Wendy’s cheek in a gentle kiss and landed on her shoulder. We both wept and chuckled at the same time.
How fitting this should happen at this very difficult time.

At Ashley’s funeral, while I was speaking with Phyllis, a close family friend of Ashley’s, she told me that Ashley’s
cousins had found one of her bracelets at the scene of the accident and had returned it to her family. Wendy later
told me that she had not had the heart to tell them that there were two bracelets, but somehow they found out there
were two. They returned to search again, but came up empty handed. Phyllis said the boys were going to go and get
a metal detector and return later to see if they could find Ashley’s other bracelet. On the way home from the funeral,
I told my husband and expressed how great it would be if they could find it.

Approximately two days after the funeral, my daughter, Kaylee, came home and told me that her best friend Janae’s,
Uncle Ray, had been at the scene of the accident. Ray is employed by the Highway Maintenance Company, and it
was his duty to clean up after the accident. He said that he had found Ashley’s bracelet, and it had upset him so
deeply that he opted not to buy one for his daughter’s upcoming birthday, which he had been planning on doing.

At the time I was excited and thought ah-ha, the bracelet would get back to Ashley’s family. I also thought it very
odd that I was involved in the hearsay from Phyllis at the funeral, and being told my daughter’s best friend’s uncle
had found the bracelet … (Neither my daughter’s friend or uncle knew Ashley or her family).

Weeks later, the missing bracelet would be brought up again in a conversation at dinner with Ashley’s mother.
She told another old friend and me that the family was still missing the Italian bracelet that had belonged to Ashley.
She told us that her nephews had found one bracelet and had searched the surrounding area in the ditch, to no
avail for the other one. I wanted to say something at the time about the bracelet that Janae’s uncle had found,
but thought it better to wait and find out for sure where the bracelet might have gotten too, rather than give
Wendy false hope.

Again, I told my husband of this, and he thought it very odd as well that I seemed to be receiving so many messages
to do with the bracelet from different, unconnected, people. It was like a message was coming through me to get the
bracelet back to Wendy.

Time went by. My husband prodded me to find out about the bracelet. On a few occasions I did have the opportunity
to ask Janae’s mother if she knew what had happened to it, but for whatever reason, I just couldn’t bring myself to ask.
I found it rather awkward.

Then, on the Friday before Halloween, my daughter and her friend were playing volleyball at an out of town Tournament.
The tourney happened to be at the school where Ray’s daughter attended. He was there for his daughter’s Halloween
party, and had been unaware that his niece would be playing volleyball at the school. He decided to stay and watch
Janae play the game.

Opportunity knocked. With great difficulty I proceeded to question Ray as to the whereabouts of the bracelet.
He was in awe. He told me that he had never told his niece about the bracelet, but that she must have heard him
talking about it to another family member. He, too, I believe was thinking that this was all very strange, how we
all were linked together. He informed me that he had given the bracelet to the RCMP, and that he would check to
see what had happened to it.

Several weeks went by, and finally I was to hear from him. He didn’t have good news. He said the officer recalled
receiving the bracelet, but said that the belongings had been handed over to Ashley’s Uncle Rod the day after the accident.

At this point I didn’t know what to do. That evening I forged ahead and called Wendy anyway. I felt I had better let
her know what had been going on. I told her I didn’t want to upset her, by possibly giving her false hope, but I
thought she should know. She was so excited. She said they never expected the RCMP to have it, and had never
questioned them. All their energy had been focused around the scene of the accident. She assumed, as anyone
would, if the RCMP had it, they would have returned it.

The next morning Wendy called the RCMP station and talked with the Exhibit clerk. He told her that there was no
such bracelet in the locker. Wendy informed him that she had outside information that the bracelet had been turned
in to the RCMP by the highway maintenance crew. She asked him to search through their cars and keep on looking
until they found it; it had to be there. He told Wendy that another officer would be in later that day, and he would
ask him if he knew anything about the bracelet.

An hour later, he phoned back and said that he had talked to Officer Sean, and Sean remembered turning it over to
Ashley’s Uncle Rod. Wendy thought that was very odd. Why then would Rod and the boys have gone back to the
scene and searched for the second bracelet? She called Rod just to confirm that nobody had given him any of Ashley’s

Later that day, Wendy and Kathleen went into the police station and questioned Officer Sean about the missing bracelet.
They asked him to provide them with a copy of the release form. After a considerable amount of time he could not come
up with such a form. They then pleaded with him to try to remember whom he released it to. He said he would talk to the
investigating officer to see if he knew where the release form was, and would get back to them in a few days.

Wendy and Kathleen left the Station feeling quite disappointed wondering who Ashley’s bracelet had been given to.
On their way home Wendy commented to Kathleen that maybe they should ask Ashley to help Officer Sean find her
bracelet, and return it to them.

Later that night, Officer Sean phoned Wendy and said he had found the bracelet. Miraculously, he found the bracelet
in the Exhibit room, unmarked, and returned it to Ashley’s family that evening - November 18th, almost four months to
the day following Ashley’s death.

Wendy was later to tell me that over the summer there were lots of butterflies around them, and on two different occasion’s butterflies
landed on her. When she expressed to her husband, Ken, that she felt it was Ashley saying hello he said, "What happens in the
Winter Time, when there are no butterflies?"

It should be noted that when the Italian bracelet was returned it had been damaged, and the only charms that were left intact were:

Wendy now wears the bracelet, and has a calm feeling knowing that Ashley is always with her.

Kristi, a close friend of Kathleen and Ashley’s, had made the comment to Kathleen that the butterfly on the bracelet was Ashley’s
way of showing her dad that her presence is still with them - even in the winter.

My belief of all that has transpired:

I feel there have been too many events to call this a coincidence. Why was I privy to the three conversations that involved the bracelet?
Had I not brought this information forward to Wendy, they in all likelihood may never have had the bracelet returned. The timing was
critical, because we would later learn that Officer Sean is being transferred away in January.

I believe I was linked to Wendy the night that I consoled her before the funeral. And, with all of the events that have taken place since,
I am convinced that Ashley was sending me messages to get her bracelet back to her mom. I believe she was comforting her mother that
night on the deck when the butterfly fluttered against her cheek, and that she chose me to be the key to having her misplaced bracelet
returned to her family at a time when they most needed assurance that she Lives On…

Only days later I would turn to November 18th of the desk calendar of angels I’d had given to me by a friend in sympathy for the loss
of my sister-in-law who had succumbed to cancer on September 11th, 2004. I found the verse very Odd and eerily pertinent due to all
the events that had recently taken place.

The Script Goes:

O Welcome Pure-ey’d Faith, white-handed Hope, Thou hovering angel girt with golden wings. I see you visibly
and now believe. That he, the Supreme good, would send a glistening Guardian if need were To Keep my life
and honor unassailed. Author – John Milton.

After hearing of this script, Kathleen checked in her book of Words of Comfort that had been given to her after Ashley died.
It reads as follows for November 18th, 2004:

Grief knits TWO HEARTS in closer bonds than happiness ever can, and common sufferings are far stronger
LINKS than common joys.

The first week of December my husband and I had three sightings of a beautiful Snow White Dove in an area where white doves are
not common. What this all means, I do not know. But, after all that has transpired, I am sure it is a sign from above.

Wendy believes that I am her guardian angel, and that we were meant to be friends forever.   

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