Last year, I had a random day off and watched an episode of Martha Stewart. She was making spring decorations for cupcakes. On each cupcake there was a delicate edible paper butterfly. I thought they were so very pretty and decided to make some of my own for a Mother’s Day cake I was going to bake for my mother.

I had to get the edible rice paper from a mail order confection company. I traced templates with edible ink and then painted them with different colored edible powders. I had a few that were not really ‘natural’ butterfly colors, like half blue and half purple. I also created some normal ones, like monarchs. They each had to have their wings done front, then back, then glazed and allowed to dry on each side.

They took about 3 days to complete, but they came out beautifully. I also sprinkled some large sugar crystals on them to add a little sparkle. They sat on parchment paper in my dining room table to dry. As Mother’s Day grew closer, I was flipping through books to decide what kind of cake to bake. My mother wasn’t feeling very well at that point and was in the hospital for a two week stay, but she was eating here and there and I didn’t really care if she had any, I just wanted to bring her something besides flowers.

I decided on a Hummingbird Cake because it has bananas in it and cream cheese frosting, both of which she loved. I wrote up a little shopping list and went up to the hospital to see her. I stayed later than usual, just talking and making sure she didn’t want anything to eat. I decided to go to the grocery store the next night because it was getting late, so I just went home and went to bed.

She died the next morning.

The butterflies sat on the table for two weeks. I kept staring at them and walking past them. I kept telling myself that I could still use them for something. Maybe I could just put them in a tin and put them on a different cake later.

But there was no different cake. There was just the one cake. I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away. After a couple of weeks, in a bit of a mood, I crumpled them up and tossed them in the garbage so their pretty little wings would stop taunting me.

This Friday will be a year since she died. I’ve written this post about five times within that year and deleted it. It always seems as if they are still sitting there on that table. Waiting for their purpose.

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