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The trip of a lifetime

A butterfly landed on Mary Ellen Robertson's mother's grave shortly after she buried her in 2008.

Robertson believed the beautiful, winged creature was the spirit of her Mother, Leona Robertson, gently fluttering near her to comfort her sorrow. Six years later Robertson's boyfriend found a way to incorporate this very significant symbol of spiritual life into his marriage proposal to the government print shop employee.

On Oct 18, Mark Whelan surprised Robertson with a plane ticket. He told her to pack light and refused to tell her their destination. With a diamond solitaire in his backpack, he took his girlfriend of three years to Niagara Falls' Butterfly Conservatory to pop one of life's most important questions.

"Ever since I met Mary Ellen, I just knew we were meant to be," Whelan said. "I decided to give her the ring knowing that her mother would be in her mind when she got it. In a sense, her late mother was the first person to know of our engagement."

In many cultures, butterflies are associated with the soul and resurrection. Whelan's beautiful proposal reinforced to Robertson that yes was the right answer.

"Even though he never met my Mom, he knew how much she meant to me."

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