The oddest thing happened yesterday as I was wishing that our son, Branner, could be here to enjoy the beautiful spring day and the dogwoods and azaleas in the front yard. I was pulling weeds and grass out of the pine needles and made my way to a small piece of yard art. I salvaged it from Branner’s yard when we were cleaning out his house. The piece consisted of two copper butterflies on a stake, a large one above and a small butterfly below. I have no idea where Bran got it or why he was attracted to it.
Suddenly, I realized that the small butterfly had gone missing. I looked everywhere, in the bushes, in the pine needles. No small butterfly. Only the large butterfly remained, forlorn and stoic on its stake. How weird. Where could the small butterfly have gone? Surely, it will turn up somewhere.
When I went inside, I needed to put something in the attic. As I entered the attic, I saw that two items had slipped to the floor from a bookcase. When I leaned down to retrieve them, I was very surprised to see what they were – the program from Branner’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor and the spiral-bound book we received at the NC Eye Bank’s memorial service for families of donors.
The book fell open to the page that honored Branner’s gift of his corneas. There was a photo of Bran with his backpack in front of snowcapped Rocky Mountains. The inscription read, “Branner would be pleased to know that two people can now see the world because of him. He loved the outdoors and the beauty of nature. His love of nature began when he was a young child and continued through his Eagle Scout days into adulthood. Branner enjoyed camping, hiking, motorcycling, rock climbing, skiing, ice climbing, and simply being outdoors. I never look at a beautiful sunset, a mountain peak, or a rolling wave that I don’t think of our gentle and very courageous son.”