IN LOVING MEMORY OF 

JESSICA LEE MURPHY

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COINCIDENCES

"Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous"  Albert Einstein

Ever since that horrible day, the one thing that her family has wanted very badly is some kind of evidence, some proof that Jessie still existed in some realm.... and that they would be reunited with her one day.

Many, many things occurred over the next months and years which individually may not be too convincing - but when combined together seem to present a strong case for Jessie trying to send us some reassurance.

The Butterflies:

May of 1999: 

  • Jon gives Jessie a butterfly necklace to wear to prom.

June and July: 

  • Jessie collects many, many butterfly items from clothes to jewelry - they become her symbol.

Within a week of the accident:

  • Brad has an encounter with a butterfly, and feels peace from Jessie

  • Butterfly paper is offered for the funeral program

  • A butterfly lands on the tent during the burial service

  • The next day, Jessie's parents are begging for a sign at the cemetery; a butterfly appears and stays with them until they leave

  • The very next day a butterfly meets her parents at the gate to the cemetery, flies in with them and stays the entire time at the grave

  • The third day, the butterfly meets them at the car, flies into the cemetery beside them and stays for the entire visit.

In the following months:

  • While visiting at the cemetery, Jessie's dad asked for a sign - a butterfly and a bee (Jessie's nickname at home was "B") both came and "sat" with him.

  • While on a soul-searching visit to the Grotto with Jessie's parents, a butterfly lands on Father Rob's shoulder.

  • Jessie's parent's counselor, and a good friend of Jessie's both report being "dive-bombed" by a butterfly until they acknowledge it by saying "Hi Jessie".

  • Jessie's aunt and uncle have several unusual encounters with butterflies:  one travels with them several miles out into the ocean while on a whale watch; one flies around the entire warning track with them at Fenway Park; one lands first on her uncle's golf club while attempting to golf - then lands on his hand; then on the uncle's birthday (same birthday as Jessie's dad), a butterfly lands on his hand while he is umpiring a softball game - stays for an entire inning.

  • Jessie's parents made donations in Jessie's honor to several charities, afterward a butterfly lands on Jessie's mom.

  • While visiting family out of town at Easter, Jessie's family attends mass.  The pastor (who had never met the family before) tells a story of a young girl who saves a butterfly in a plastic egg - the child's name in the story was Jessie.

  • At the first memorial volleyball tournament there were literally hundreds of butterflies in attendance all day - one of which "dive-bombs" Jessie's parents.

  • There is a butterfly bed in the Pottery Factory catalog - it is called "The Jessica Bed".

 

  • On Mother's Day 2002 - another difficult day - while Jessie's parents were riding from one set of grandparents to the other, they spotted literally 50 or more butterflies all in one spot near a creek in Berryville, VA...it was a welcome sign from someone who is so sorely missed:

Mothersday.jpg (246066 bytes)

  • On August 8th, 2002, Jessie's dad had the following experience:

I went for a walk at lunchtime.  When I got to the woods I went on a path
that goes by the lake (I've walked there many times at lunch).  I stopped
and just watched the lake for a few minutes and was thinking a lot about
Jessie and our trips to Rocky Gap.  I thought about Jessie and Susie on the
boat and how it tipped over and just how, in general, it was good for her
and all of us.  I walked a little further down the path and was really
thinking about Jess and was on the verge of tears...just then a black
butterfly flew right in front of me and then away...in the direction I had
come.  I know that's not that unusual but it made me stop and say to myself
"What does that mean...Jessie is that a sign from you?"  Right then, the
butterfly that had flow out of sight, came back from the direction where it
had gone, and flew right in front of me.  It made me cry...it was like it
said, "Yes, I am a sign."  Both times it flew within an inch or so of me.
After a minute or so, I starting walking again...then I wondered was it a
sign or simply a butterfly in the woods doing what it does naturally.

I walked back to the office and saw Pat W in the parking lot.  He used to
work for SCIENTECH but now he works upstairs for Johnson Controls.  Anyway,
he said he had been waiting for about 1/2 hour for his daughter to pick him
up for lunch.  (For the past 3 years, his daughters have reminded me the
most of Jessie of anyone's children in our office...especially one of his
daughters that plays basketball and softball.  Not because of looks but just
because of the ages and activities and his involvement with them.)  His
phone rang while we were talking and he could see that it was her phone
number on his cell...so I said something like "Hi Dad, I'm running a little
late."  Right when I said "Hi Dad..." a huge butterfly flew by us.  I see
butterflies out there all the time, but it made me wonder.

 

  • On January 9th, 2003, the following article appeared on the front page of the Frederick News Post - keep in mind that Jessie's birthday is December 26th:

Dec26Butterfly.jpg (646188 bytes)

  • In March, 2004 while watching a sunrise, Jessie's mom and dad were treated to this unexpected "Butterfly Cloud":

  • In October 2004, Jessie's cousin Erin got married to Scott.  This was the first family wedding since Jessie's death.  While we were all so happy for the lovely couple, the awareness of all that would never happen for Jess was sharp and painful... but Jessie made her presence known once again.  The pastor was new to the church, so had not traveled the earlier grief journey with the family and had no knowledge of the significance of butterflies - yet this was the stole he chose to wear that day:

  • In September, 2005, Jessie's cousin sends the following note and picture:

"I wanted to send you the pictures that I talked to you about, Aunt Susie. I had been telling Erik about Jessie when we were hiking down the trail to the climbing spot and when we got there and set up all of our gear, there was a pair of persistent butterflies that kept hovering around us and alighting on all of our climbing gear...our helmet, the backpacks and the quickdraws. They stayed with us all day climbing and I thought of you and your family on and off the whole time. I thought you might like the pictures."

  • October, 2005 - Dear friends were in New England celebrating their anniversary.  October in New England is not when one would expect to see butterflies - but they came back reporting a day spent in the constant company of butterflies and feeling the presence of Jessie.  They were able to capture a beautiful shot:

 

  • February 27, 2006 - Six and one half years since the beginning of this terrible journey.  Jessie's parents were in Florida visiting Butterfly World...

  • August 2006 - On the occasion of the 7th anniversary of Jessie's accident, Jessie's uncle received the following note and picture.  What makes this all the more amazing is the fact that these people never met Jessie, didn't know her parents - and had just met Uncle Doug...

  • October 2007 - Jessie's family received the following lovely coincidence from a special person in San Antonio:

I want to let you know that on Monday October 8, 2007 the day I signed the guest book my children, Sean (6 years)& Brendan (2 years) went to the backyard at 4 p.m. and noticed 5 butterflies flying around them. Later I went outside and Sean told me he saw a butterfly land on my leg, but I didn't see it land on me. On Tuesday October 9, 2007 we went to the backyard again at about the same time and noticed three butterflies flying around us & the tree. When one of the butterflies landed on the tree I touched it & said hi Jessica and instead of flying away it stayed for a moment. We usually don't get butterflies in our yard, but maybe one or two every so often. I find this is to be a unique situation with the butterflies especially to occur shortly after I signed the guest book. Please feel free to e-mail me. God Bless You!

  • February 2008 - Yet another heartwarming story of Jessie reaching out - this time in Arkansas:

Sunday, 2/24/08 - I was researching a project for my 10 year old son's Tiger Woods poster. Google's search engine brought me here...

I was so touched and fascinated by your story and your experiences and coincidences after that tragic day. I asked my husband to come over to read over my shoulder. As we were reading the coincidences, my one year old daughter, Kaia Lin, came up to us and said, "Butterfly." In her hands was a beanie baby butterfly. Daddy said, "I've never seen that toy before." Again, Kaia Lin said, "Butterfly." When I asked her if that was Jessie she said, "Yes, Jessie." My husband asked, "Did we say the word butterfly out loud?" "No, I didn't," I answered back. I immediately waved my hand in the air and said hello to your beautiful angel, Jessie. My husband who is very tough to shake, was thoroughly shaken. Tears are welling up in my eyes as I share this with you. I took a picture of Kaia Lin and the butterfly she was hugging but don't know how to attach it here. Your family is in my prayers. Thank you for your inspiration, your courage and your belief in God and heaven above.
 

Attached are the pictures I took yesterday of Kaia Lin holding the butterfly. The story doesn't end there. Kaia Lin is having a really hard time falling asleep lately. Needless to say, last night she slept with Kevin and me in our bed. As she was fighting sleep but slowly dozing off, she made the sign language sign for butterfly right over her heart. "Butterfly, butterfly," she said. "Is that Jessie?" "Yes. Butterfly. Jessie."

 

I had one more thing to share... 
 
This afternoon I shared our experience this past weekend between Kaia Lin and Jessie with my sister who resides in California. As soon as I had finished, my sister softly said, "There's is a butterfly on the ground right next to me. It flew to that spot when you first mentioned Jessie's name to me. It's been here this whole time." (Approximately 5 minutes or more). She, like my husband, is not easily shaken and this pretty much blew her away.
 
Your Jessie is amazing and I am again so touched that she's blessed our family with her presence repeatedly over the last 48 hours. What she is doing, helping people believe or find hope where it was once lost perhaps, is amazing.

What the senders of this story don't know - is that this is the exact butterfly that is in Jessie's bedroom:

 

  • September, 2010 - Jessie's cousin Michelle shares this heartwarming visit from Jess:

I was playing golf a while ago with friends of mine that were crucially important to me while I dealt with Jessie's passing.  We never take the game too seriously but for some reason this particular game was kinda intense.  I was putting on the ninth hole (we don't play the full 18) and was one stroke from finishing under par and winning; both were a first.  After some good natured but nerve racking comments from my friends I was almost guaranteed to miss.  I was about to say f@#! it and take the shot when a butterfly landed on my ball.  I waited for it to fly off and was able to regain my composure.  I won.  First and only time.  Jessie and I unfortunately weren't that close so I didn't think to much of it then, however after visiting your memorial website and reading all of the "coincidences" how could I not make the connection.  I didn't realize how much I miss her.  I'm actually teary eyed writing this.  Just wanted to share and let you know I love and miss you, don and brad.

What Michelle didn't know was that at the time of her writing this note on facebook - Jessie's parents were actually at the cemetery for the annual fall memorial mass - a bittersweet and emotional service... it was so incredibly nice to come home to this story...

  • February 27, 2016 - there is a note posted in Jessie's guestbook that someone had found a tag from the 31st birthday balloon release:

...we were at the top of the hill when my husband looked down as he was walking and said "you wanna grab that?" We typically pick up pieces of things now and then that may blow around up there. It was a blue string and the remains of a light blue balloon with the special "Happy 31st Birthday" tag on it, as well as the website. I told him it wasn't just a piece of trash and I grabbed my phone to check out the website. So beautiful...

The property across the street, which has the creek running through it, in the summer, is home to hundreds of thousands of butterflies, daily, because of the various types of flowers down there. All different kinds. When you walk the trails, it is sometimes breathtaking to watch their beauty flying and swooping around you-everywhere. My kids love watching them and trying to catch them, as well as our dogs. I read how special butterflies are to you and how much she loved them, that's the only reason I'd share that.   

I am 37 with 4 kids....I couldn't imagine what you've gone through. I cry as I type this to you. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I wish you and your family peace and love. 

   

image1.JPG

 

 

All the coincidences are not butterflies:

  • Jessie's aunt and uncle give a chrysanthemum to Jessie's dad for his birthday - it is part of the "Prophet Series", and is called a "Jessica" garden mum.

  • On August 27, 2000 the word for the day on a Jewish daily calendar was "Yahrtzeit", which has the definition:  "One year anniversary of the death of a loved one".

  • In 8th grade Jessie wrote an autobiography.  In one chapter she was to describe herself at the age of 25.  She wrote that she would be an actress and would be starring in a television show called "That's Life".  In the fall of 2000 a new series started by that name.

That's Life
Regular airtime: Saturdays, 9pm EST (CBS)
Directors: Jim Frawley, Christopher Monger, Rob Thompson
Producers: Anita Addison, Maddy Horne, Frank Renzulli
Cast: Heather Paige Kent, Ellen Burstyn, Paul Sorvino, Debi Mazar, Kristen Bauer, Peter Firth, Kevin Dillon

  • Jessie's mom and dad wrote in journals everyday after Jessie died.  One day, while out of town, Jessie's mom wrote in her journal the following:

        After taking the subway to the wrong part of town, and getting lost, Jessie's mom, dad and brother got off the train.  The only thing of color in the drab scene was a huge sign that said: 

        "If You Are Waiting For A Sign From God, This Is It"!

  • Jessie's younger cousin, Vinny, at age three was visiting the cemetery with his parents.  On his own, he laid down in the snow and began flapping his arms and legs... His parents report that they had never taught him to make a Snow Angel:

vinny.jpg (125246 bytes)

VinnyAngel.jpg (90378 bytes)

  • On December 24, 2002, the Murphy's got a call from Susie and Candice - Jessie's best friend and her sister.  They had been at St. John's earlier that evening for Christmas Eve mass.  Candice had picked up her hymnal, and it happened to be one dedicated to Jessie from her Aunt Lisa and Uncle Doug.  Then Susie picked up her hymnal and it was one dedicated to Jessie from her family.  Talk about coincidences - there are only 9 of those hymnals in the whole church - a church of over 4,000 families!

Hymnals.jpg (273196 bytes)

  • On December 23, 2003, Jessie's mom was alone in the car.  As she was driving she had a whimsical thought:  Wouldn't it be really nice if she had enough money to rent a sky-writing plane for Christmas Day.  It would be so great to spend the day writing over and over in the sky, "Hi!  I love you and I am ok".  It may not mean anything to some, but all bereaved people would get a warm feeling.  While thinking these thoughts, Jessie's mom was gazing at the beautiful sunset.  To her amazement, slowly but surely, the letters J E S S appeared on the horizon.  After quickly parking the car, running into the store and purchasing a disposable camera, this is all that was left of her gift from Jessie:

  • One day Jessie's parents came home to an incredible gift from a very dear friend.  The picture was matted and framed and so closely resembled Jessica they were sure the painting had been commissioned.  It turns out to have been found on the flip of a Greg Olsen (artist) calendar from one month to the next... and it depicts one angel greeting a new member to the fold:

  • On December 26, 2004 - Jessie's 20th birthday - we awoke to find one of the two priests who had been so very instrumental in our early grief work on the front page of the local paper - bringing us a sense of comfort on that difficult day:

  • On August 27, 2005 - Dear friends and fellow bereaved parents brought Jessie's parents dinner on the sixth anniversary of Jessie's death.  They had picked up Chinese food - Jessie's mom's fortune cookie had the following message:

 

  • On October 1, 2005 - Jessie's mom and dad had family visiting from Ireland.  While walking through downtown Frederick, they stopped in St. John's.  One of the Irish cousins pulled the hymnal out to leaf through it - and lo and behold, it was one of Jessie's...  Needless to say, everyone had goose-bumps and felt the presence of both Jessie and cousin Helen's husband Pat:

 

  • October 29,2005 - Jessie's parents went to watch the 2005 recipient of Jessie's scholarship play in a volleyball tournament at Messiah College.  Upon viewing the roster for the Messiah Falcons, they once again were comforted by Jessie's persistence in making her presence known - notice the name of the 6th player on the roster:

  • November 24, 2005 - This was the first Thanksgiving that Jessie's mom and dad would be spending without either of their children at home - Brad had recently moved to California and wouldn't be coming home until Christmas.  As was often the case, mom and dad set out for a long walk in the morning to prepare themselves mentally for the day.  On the route they take, there is a spot in the woods where cardinals are often seen, and deer are sometimes visitors too.  Jessie's mom usually pauses here in hopes of seeing something - encounters with nature have a calming, even uplifting affect.  Two cardinals appeared immediately, but mom waited a little longer, hoping to see a deer too.  After a bit, resigned to not seeing deer this time, she walked on.  Not 20 steps further down the path, a deer crossed right in front of her.  Then, a second deer came out of the woods, stood on the path not 10 yards away, and stared at her.  This went on for 15-20 seconds, when mom - with goose-bumps - blew a kiss to the deer.  At that point, the deer very gracefully nodded its head, and with stately poise walked off into the woods.

 

  • December 24, 2006 - Continuing a heartwarming 8 year tradition, Jessie's aunt, uncle and cousins were out putting ribbons on trees in honor of Jessie's upcoming 22nd birthday.  It was late and dark while Jessie's aunt was tying her ribbons.  Many of the street lights were out so she was walking carefully and thinking of Jess.  At one of the few areas that was well lit Aunt Lisa tied her ribbon on the trunk of the tree and then just stood there - unsure of what was compelling her not to go on.  She looked all around, and finally glanced down at her feet - where there was a 5 dollar bill.  Not a one or a ten or a twenty -- but Jessie's favorite number - five.  Surely another sign from Jess - her way of thanking them for their selfless act of compassion.