“Jen! A brown butterfly…” she said pointing. I looked up and over at where she pointed, then looked at her, merely smiled and nodded as I met her eyes. I went back to bowling the ball towards the small, plastic, cricket set where two eager little boys waited on a beautiful, sunny day in my backyard.
It was later, a day and a half later, that I allowed those words to break my heart. You see, my dear soul sister Amanda uttered the words and they were loaded with so much meaning that no one listening over the back fence that day could possibly have understood.
A few days, maybe a week before she lost her eight-year-old daughter to a brain aneurysm, she had had a visit from a brown butterfly. She got up one morning to find a brown butterfly on the floor in her kitchen. She looked and thought it must be dead, as it didn’t move at all. She reached down and gently placed it in her hand, it didn’t move. She reached for her back, sliding door with the other hand, slid it open and went outside. She stood there still holding the dead butterfly feeling an inexplicable sadness. As she raised her hand slightly, the butterfly suddenly fluttered its wings and flew from her hand. A feeling of intense peace, love and hope and also an inexplicable sadness came from her heart in answer to that happening. It stayed with her throughout the morning, so much so that she called me to tell me about it. Tearfully she explained the emotions that had welled up in her. She told me she felt it to be meaningful for her in some way, she kept repeating this as I questioned her in order to help clarify what was going on inside her. She wanted to understand it more.
When she lost her eight year old daughter days later, she recalled, through her grief, that visit from the butterfly. She felt she finally had her answer. She felt deep, deep inside herself that it was a message to her. A message of hopes and love, of life after death was the theme. For days, weeks, eternally after her child’s death, butterflies were around her whenever she was outside. They bought her feelings of peace and of hope but still a deep, deep sadness.
So, you see, when she says’s those words, “Jen, a brown butterfly!” it would break your heart too...
On the 17th of December Amanda's beloved little girl, Thalia, would have turned 10 years old. I wanted to recognize this in some way. Her mother and I sat at my kitchen table and talked, cried, reminisced, held each other, looked deep, deep inside and connected in a way that was much needed. Her pain is unfathomable and yet I must try to fathom it to be able to support her. She is the bravest woman I know.