I never knew that Target would be one of my “triggers.” I didn’t realize until I was walking down each isle and it hit me. I was no longer shopping for two, but for one. Target was my one-stop-shop. I get my food and all other necessary and unnecessary items from there. The once heavily filled cart with Goldfish, Fiber one bars, juice boxes, string cheese, was now only filled with “work lunch” essentials. My cart is bare and empty, like me.

I pull up to the cashier behind a young women with a huge wedding ring, buying tons of “vacation type” clothes. I am reminded again how before each spring break to Arizona, we’d go to Target and do the same thing. I start to load my things while more Target memories flood my mind. When Aria was little, the only way I could get through Target effectively, consisted of bribery with a Pizza Hut personal cheese pizza. She loved that pizza so much. So much so, that she would ask to “go to Target” for lunch. As if it was some restaurant. Do I buy it first and have her sit nicely in the cart as she eats? Or do I use it as a reward for staying in or close to the cart during my shopping excursion? It always worked. I don’t think we ever left Target without a Pizza Hut personal cheese pizza. I wish that Target still had the Pizza Hut kiosk.

The cashier finally gets to my items. She’s slow but sweet. My mind drifts to more recent trips to Target. Where I preferred Aria did not come with me. Each trip she would insist I would buy her something she needed, more like wanted. She was very trendy. She wanted fake nails, new eye shadow, lip stick, or sunglasses. It was always something, and, she needed it NOW. Not this weekend, not tomorrow, but NOW. Do you have any money? I would ask. ” I do at Nonnie’s, I’ll pay ya back.” This convo happened often, not just at Target. It was almost a daily conversation when it came to buying music or games on iTunes. How can she learn the value of money if I buy her whatever she wants every time she asks for something? I flashback to the Pizza Hut memory as the cashier scans my Jacks Cheese Pizza ( Aria’s favorite frozen pizza) and realized, shit, I created that cycle from the start. My heart starts to raise and the panic starts to flutter my stomach, I want to RUN. Is the cashier fucking done yet? Right when I began to believe my agitation was noticeable, she ask’s Cash or Credit? FINALLY!! I pay with my card, put in my pass code and load my items in a manor of 7 seconds. I needed to get out of there! ” Oh wait, don’t forget this” says the cashier as she hands me the receipt. My eyes reach her hand and there they were……….butterflies. All up and down her arm. My panic settles and I smile…. ” Hi Bug.” I said out loud.

On Aria’s birthday, my mom had a spiritual reading. In the reading Aria stated that she reaches out to me, specifically, in two ways. Through music and through butterflies. Because Aria describes herself as one. On earth, a cocoon. In heaven, she’s found her wings and she is now a Butterfly.

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  • Kate Leicher says:

    You are such a talented writer! My heart will forever go out to you & your wonderful family!

  • chelsielopez says:

    Your writing blows me away. I involuntarily let out an audible “oh!” When you wrote about the butterfly tattoo. Love you Britt!!!!

  • Nancy Johnson says:

    Bless your heart. Thank you for sharing. Idk why I have not seen this before. I hope it comes across my feed again. I promise it will get better. Idk one you will be amazed at how you have healed. I think it will come quickly as you share and help the healing for others.

  • Bitty NewBeginning Johnson says:

    Keep writing… please.

  • Daniel Fay says:

    Thank you for sharing that.

  • Wendy S Foty says:

    Oh Britt, you have a beautiful way of expressing your heart for your precious Aria. I think of you often and pray that God will give you more and more butterfly moments and that they will some day bring you smiles instead of tears. Your sweet girl left her mark on so many people and they will never be the same because of her. Even now, her story makes a difference. Her purpose is not lost.

  • Sidney Brown says:

    Oh, man. This one got me all sorts of choked up. I feel so sad every time I think of sweet Buggy, but I feel so much hope when I see and hear and read all that you are doing to ensure that her. life. matters. and always will <3

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