One day my best friend and I were walking at the greenway near our home. We were talking about religion and beliefs. My husband was Catholic, like my best friend and her family, and I wanted her perspective on eternity...heaven. At this point in my grief I was looking for some connection, any connection, to my husband. We walked for miles talking about what it meant to be eternal in spirit.
During the last mile or so we noticed a yellow butterfly making tight circles around us. It would hover over Lisa as she spoke and then fly around me. As we neared the parking lot, we stopped for a moment and the butterfly landed right next to the toe of my shoe. It sat there and flapped its wings as we talked about it. It never moved as long as we were stopped.
Every time I was outside a single yellow butterfly would appear. Then one day Lisa, another friend and I were at a pool and a swarm of yellow butterflies circled the entire pool. There must have been thousands of them. We sat with our mouths agape as they fluttered high above us, then suddenly surrounded us before they flew away.
The yellow butterflies didn't disappear when I moved to Texas. Occasionally, if I'm struggling, a single one will show up and flutter around me for a few seconds before flying away. There could be a lot of explanations for this. Yellow butterflies aren't terribly unique. However, I've always felt it was a sign that I'm not alone. I chose to use this for my logo because I want my clients to feel that they are not alone either.
You may think that I am talking about losing my spouse, but I'm actually talking about my career choice. I got into real estate because I was a professional stager. Design has always been my joy. I would spend days with sellers, on behalf of their real estate agent, and get to know them and their lives deeply. That tends to happen when you are digging into the deepest corners of one's home. I saw that there was often a gap in the service client's were receiving. Their real estate agents often knew their property and the numbers quite well, but they didn't always know the whole story, the motivation behind the sale.
That's when I decided to get my license and approach real estate from a different perspective. It didn't hurt that my husband was the primary bread winner and I had time to build a nice business where I had the privilege of really getting to know my clients, whom I am still friends with today. Fast forward almost ten years and we were beginning to think about our next chapter. He still had 7-10 years to work, but we were already starting to plan our future. This led me to finish my Master's with the intention of getting a PhD in Communications. I could teach and we could retire in a cool college town.
But that didn't happen. One day after my 56th birthday, my husband went to a Clemson football game and never came home. He had a heart attack that night and my life changed forever. The career that I had built was completely out of my capabilities for the next couple of years. I couldn't think. I certainly couldn't serve my clients well, so I stopped. Now, a little more than three years later, I feel called to step in and make sure others feel seen, taken care of and supported when they have to make the tough decision to change their living situation.
I never saw real estate as a long term career, but I never want anyone to feel as alone as I did when I was making the tough decision to sell my house. I don't want anyone to think that nobody understands what they are going through. And I don't want anyone to every be taken advantage of during a vulnerable time. I believe I was put in this place for a reason and experienced additional trauma during my own home sale (a story for another time) so that I can be an advocate or a warrior if necessary, for others walking through grief.