The Year of the Butterfly (Paperback)
The Year of the Butterfly is a true story about a love affair that begins with a synchronous event, but it is much more than that. It is about how true love never dies . . . even after death. It is about the terrible ordeal that patients endure while waiting for an organ transplant. It is about the questionable medical practices in some institutions. And most important, it is about life after death.
The story begins when Donna, a young ambitious businesswoman, meets Ralph. They marry and live a fairy-tale life-living in a beautiful home and traveling around the world for pleasure. Although Ralph is a busy, high-level executive himself, he supports Donna's career by doing their shopping, cooking, and most household chores. Eventually, Donna achieves her career dream by becoming Chief Information Officer for United Airlines.
Their life is almost perfect except that Ralph has severe bouts of an intestinal disease and undergoes multiple surgeries. At the age of fifty, Ralph goes into remission from his disease after taking a positive-thinking class and an experimental drug. But a few years later, he becomes seriously ill again-this time he develops cirrhosis of the liver, caused by drinking alcohol in excess for several months after losing his job. Donna is angry and can't imagine ever loving him again. But as Ralph nears death, Donna realizes that she will always love him and needs to do everything she can to help him.
After briefly lapsing into a coma, Ralph is placed in the ICU of a large, well-known hospital to wait for a liver transplant. They soon find themselves caught between two teams of doctors who battle each other over the transplant system; one team wants to give scarce bodily organs to patients who have the best chance of survival, and the other wants to offer transplants to patients who are closest to death. Unfortunately, Ralph is in the latter category. As the conflict between the two teams of doctors escalates, Donna asks the president of the hospital to review Ralph's case. Recognizing that she understands the dysfunction in the hospital, the president places Ralph high on the nationwide transplant list. But through a series of mishaps, Ralph dies.
A week after Ralph's death, when Donna is in the depths of grief, Ralph begins to delight her and several friends with a variety of afterlife communications. These magical experiences with butterflies, lights, stars, visitations, and other antics continue for years, with Donna experiencing eleven of the twelve widely-accepted categories of afterlife communication. These soul-to-soul communications begin Donna's spiritual journey, as she realizes that life goes on for both the living and the dead.