December 15, 2013

Butterflies & Transcendence.

“How does one become a butterfly?” she asked pensively.

Orange Butterfly: “You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”

~ Trina Paulus

When I received a phone call telling me that my father had committed suicide, I hit the floor—both figuratively and literally. It is devastating news when someone passes, but a suicide is especially hard to deal with.

Thank goodness I can not predict the future, because If I had known what the next few years had in store for me, I’m sure I would have given up right then and there.

Instead, I somehow found the strength and courage to get up off of the floor that day and on the many days following his death. It wasn’t always pretty or consistent, and much of it I did for my children and husband who needed me, but I did get up.

Grief is such a personal process to go through for each individual. When we get bad news—life altering news—such as finding out about a loved one’s death, there is no way to tell how we will react, but in my experience, we will and do find ways of coping with our loss.

Somehow, we seem to embrace what it is deep inside of each of us that will help us to survive a loss. These tools that we carry at the core of our beings help us to maneuver our way through the unthinkable situations which are put before us in life.

Sometimes these tools are used consciously and sometimes unconsciously.

But, each and every one of us has an outlet of some sorts.

For me it was writing—lots and lots of writing. I have always written, but for a couple of years, I focused mainly on my father and my feelings surrounding his death.

Some of the stories and poems were very gloomy and morbid, but others were so hopeful that I wonder how I created them in that time when everything was so shaded in darkness.

I have always associated butterflies with my father since he passed. I know that this is not uncommon as butterflies are magical and beautiful creatures that have transformed themselves from another life form—from a caterpillar into a butterfly.

Butterflies can also travel thousands of miles on their migratory path, much as I can imagine a soul might do after it has passed from this earth. And they seem so free and beautiful as they flutter about in the air—something I have always wanted to do myself! (Not to mention that some species help in the life cycle of flowers through pollination.)

I have found countless poems, stories and quotes regarding the two subjects of both death and butterflies. Here is one of my favorites:

“The caterpillar dies so the butterfly could be born. And, yet, the caterpillar lives in the butterfly and they are but one. So, when I die, it will be that I have been transformed from the caterpillar of earth to the butterfly of the universe.”

~  John Harricharan

The following poem is one of mine, that I wrote in honor of my father’s memory. I hope it will bring peace to another person who is trying to ‘get up and stay up off of the floor’ after a loss of their loved one . . .

Heavenly Butterflies

Gorgeous lives go flying by

Into deep blue azure skies


Exquisite wings, so decorated

Each one should be celebrated

For its beauty, strength and might

To see such splendor taking flight

Watching them brings much delight

And takes the soul to higher heights


So wondrous and free they are

If only they could reach the stars

Then those night lights in the sky

Would be bejeweled with butterflies

What a sight for all to see

Wings lit up like Tiffany


Do you ever take the place

Of these creatures with such grace?


{If so, someday I’ll meet you there

Where we will be so blessed to share

Ascending through sweet air of blue

Goodbyes erased I’ll fly with you}


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 Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: Bryonie Wise

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