As an individual fades out of one’s life, there can be drastic changes that follow. (Izana Nordhaus)
As an individual fades out of one’s life, there can be drastic changes that follow.

Izana Nordhaus

If that person were still here

Interaction with others is a big part of what makes up who one is. People walk in and out of life, and there would be drastic changes if that person were still here.

October 11, 2021

Many important people throughout life contribute to shaping a personality. This could be a parent, a relative or a friend. As life goes on, sometimes these people walk out of one’s life, whether that be by growing apart, a serious disagreement or even death. It is easy to ponder how different life would be if that person were still there.

Two butterflies alighted on my hand for a little while.

Feeling out of control is a constant in life. People often possess control in relationships; however, death is one of the many things one cannot control. Any power over relationships can seep away in moments when faced with death.

I touched them, and they flew away before I was ready.

A child who has ever lost a parent often recounts it as an indescribable feeling of emptiness. Parents are responsible for raising their children and shaping them to be their own person by setting an example. A mother, specifically, shares a special bond with her child through birth and in the early months of life. The well-known saying even goes, “there is nothing as powerful as a mother’s love.” When a mother leaves her child’s life, the child is left to learn to live without their mother’s gentle hand of guidance.

Just a tad before I was ready.

German teacher Danielle Katz faced this harsh reality when she lost her mother; her main support system. If her mother were still here, she would have that person to talk to about everything: her day, her ideas and her frustrations. Processing everything she goes through without that extra advice is a struggle for her. Katz often finds herself wanting to pick up the phone to call her mom.

I knew they would. I know they’re gone. They will not come back.

Additionally, she misses the role her mother played in her sons’ lives. As a family, they had a brunch date twice a month, every other Sunday. When her boys were little, instead of going to daycare, Katz’s mom always watched them.

“I’m especially grateful for the time she did have with my kids,” Katz said.

Her sons are both learning French, and with Katz’s mother being a native speaker, she wishes that her mom was here to guide them in that journey.

They flit about in my rose garden just outside my kitchen window.

When Katz was a teenager and in college, she never felt very close to her mother. There were cultural differences when her mother moved to America, one being the attitudes surrounding after-school activities. When Katz was involved in school, her mother was often resentful about driving her and attending her events. In Europe, school was only for academics, so the idea of extracurriculars was foreign to her.

The biggest lesson Katz learned from this was to always apologize; her mother eventually came around and was sorry for how she acted. Katz remembers this and tries to be as involved as she can in her sons’ lives.

Through these experiences, Katz has found a mantra.

“Do not shut people out, do not hold grudges, make amends and make things right,” Katz said. “You do not know if you are maybe not going to see them again.”

Katz is beyond thankful she did not have to learn this lesson the hard way and made amends with her mother before she left her life.

For just a little while.

Sometimes, people do not realize how important a person is until they are gone. While people often think of their parents as influential people, it is those who may be in the background that leave an everlasting impact. For junior Lilly McKinney, her neighbor was someone who bonded family ties. She created traditions and brought family together, especially around the holidays.

They will not stay.

After McKinney’s neighbor passed away, she regretted not getting to know her better before leaving.

“At the funeral, I heard a lot of stories that I never knew about this person or character traits that I never really picked up on,” McKinney said. “Despite how well you think you know a person, there’s always more to learn.”

I must let them go.

Since McKinney’s neighbor has passed, she tries to fill a spiritual void in her widower’s life. Her neighbor would go to church daily with her husband, and McKinney has stepped into that place. Despite McKinney’s regrets surrounding her relationship with her neighbor, she continues her neighbor’s legacy through spending time with the people who were most important to her.

Following with my aching heart.

People inevitably experience loss or separation in their lives, but the process is not always so tragic. As life goes on, people grow apart. Senior Samantha Bradley‘s childhood friend is no longer in her life, but the time they spent together still has an impact on the person she is today.

The distant flutter of their shimmering wings.

Bradley’s childhood friend allowed her to be her own unique self and influenced her sense of humor. As they got older, they drifted apart and hung out with different people. If this person was still in Bradley’s life, she believes she would be laughing a lot, but her friend dynamics would be very different.

“I could have fought a lot more for the relationship, honestly, but I just was distracted,” Bradley said.

The small relationship they did carry as they got older eventually faded away completely. Though not on bad terms, Bradley wishes she could have held onto certain aspects of the relationship.

I must let them go.

Danielle Katz holds her mother’s poem “Zwei Schmetterlinge” dear to her heart. (Megan Harding)

When somebody loses an important person in their life, there is a standing belief that those people often come back as butterflies. They remind the person left behind how the single event of existence changed everything. Danielle Katz’s mother, Marguerite McClelland, was a poet who wrote “Zwei Schmetterlinge,” translating to “Two Butterflies.” Excerpts from McClelland’s poem are featured in every other line in this story. Katz holds this poem close to her heart because it reminds her to hang on to precious moments while she can. Butterflies grace people with their presence and beauty and then fly away.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Megan Harding
Megan Harding, Tom Tom Staff
Megan Harding is a senior and this is her first year on staff. When Harding is not working at Something Sweet in downtown Antioch, she enjoys discovering new music, buying clothes and spending time with people who make her happiest.
Photo of Izana Nordhaus
Izana Nordhaus, Visual Director
Izana Nordhaus is a senior and this is her third year on staff. She loves to draw, play piano and thrift in her free time. Izana has an unhealthy obsession with plants and her dog, Ozzie Bozzie Boo. 

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