A hug for my soul

A journey of grieving and healing after child loss

The Butterfly

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Butterflies. They carry way too many symbols. I used to find them too main-stream: A girl would like a butterfly dress; A woman wants to get a butterfly tramp stamp because when you are 20, that seems important; Butterfly cards, butterfly wings, Butterfly cakes, even Minnie’s ribbons are just butterflies without fluffy legs and spooky eyes.

When Vincent was still in the ICU, I got my daughter a random and varied selection of books on saying goodbye to dying siblings. She took one out of those 7 or 8 books and asked me to read it to her: Ben’s Butterflies. It is about a sister losing her sick brother, with whom she used to paint lots of butterflies. Once he has passed she got depressed and detached from the world. Eventually she finds out she’s surrounded by white butterflies which reminds her of her loving brother, encouraging her to smile again.

My daughter closed the book and looked up to me, mum, Vincent is going to become a white butterfly too.

The day after Vincent passed in the hospital, I went home, melted into a chair and continued to cry. I sobbed and yelled, eventually a white butterfly caught my blurred eyes. He danced around our little garden, looked into our window, and when I got myself up to open the window to go outside, he flew higher and higher, and disappeared into the light.

I could hear my heart being cut into a million pieces, I was completely defeated.

After that, white butterflies were everywhere: On my way to the grocery, appearing from every corner from A to B, in parks we went to, near river bands where I biked to, in our yard playing with my daughter, and in China by my mum’s side. This was the first time I ever experienced a hot summer in Germany, and I trusted it to have just happened at the time needed for our grief.

What about when it becomes cold again? I feared for my imagination of my son’s soul being a white butterfly confirming me that he is always around would be cut short by nature, so I accepted it to just be.

Not long after it started to turn cold we decided to go on this trip. It felt like we were guided by a great force, in whichever country or city, wherever we went, there were white butterflies, tiny little insects I have never ever paid attention to nor remembered seeing much of my whole life, sometimes in mysterious and miraculous colors and forms, fluttering in front of our eyes and vibrating in our hearts.

My daughter has been really caring and careful around them, she worries if one dies her brother’s soul dies too, I tell her butterflies are around because the love in Vincent is always around us, and these mysterious little ones vibrate with pure love.

And today in the very northern tiny island of Okinawa, our daughter looked out the window and saw this scene: hundreds of white butterflies in front of our house.

I don’t feel like crying crying anymore, because this love I feel from Vincent no longer needs validation or confirmation, I was amazed and was in a daze by the scene of so many white butterflies, but I am no longer surprised.

The it suddenly hit me. White butterflies in Japan are symbols of souls of children. Even if he didn’t go through all the way to show us his presence, which was so stunning and beyond any word, I am again honored by his wisdom and compassion, to have witnessed his very own vibration with my physical eyes, when the mind was in doubt and occupied the main stage.

Every flutter of the butterfly wings along our journey, now this hypnotic collective presence and movement of all hundreds of butterflies together, played a whole different vibration. And it felt like, home.

I wonder if all those who have lost their loved ones are lucky to receive and acknowledge messages like this, and just trust what Is. Butterflies don’t bring back my son’s body for me to cuddle, but he so grateful is doing all he can to cuddle my heart through my five senses.

And I feel that. Vincent. With my soul body too.

It is the bravest love and deepest trust I have ever felt. From you to me, and from me to you.

What about those who love us and are still physically around, our children who we think came as blank sheets of paper? If there’s butterflies around them, what about us taking a break and just watch how those wings move? What about for once we allow ourselves to feel their very own vibrations and trust that they are here to unconditionally love us and take care of us, not the other way round?

Just because those butterflies are invisible doesn’t cancel out that vibration around you. The effort may seem absent, the love might be mistaken as your own loneliness, but do remind yourself that your very being, is carried by many many who love you and who vibrate for you in all visible and invisible ways, including your helpless children ‘requiring all those sacrifices you have to make’.

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