Friday, September 13, 2013

Behind The Butterfly...

For about a year and or so, maybe a year and a few months (pretty good portion of his life since he's only a little over two and a half), Luke has always noticed and pointed out butterflies.

Butterflies are very, very symbolic to a lot of people who have lost family members, and especially to parents who have lost children.

I admit...they've never been *too* symbolic to me.  I don't mean that in a bad way, more in the way that I don't have a lot of things that symbolize much of anything to me, if that makes sense.

Anyway...when my mother was alive, she had an "I brake for butterflies" sticker on her bumper.  John and I laughed and laughed every time we saw that car because if you knew how sloooooooowly my mother drove through her sleepy, southern little town, you'd know that she was practically braking just by 'driving'!  When she died, on the way to her service at the cemetery, you would not BELIEVE the hoard of butterflies we passed through—right there on Rte. 29 in Fairfax county—so big

Yes, we apparently brake for butterflies also.  And have ever since...

So when Matthew died, we had to go pick out a plot.


On a cold December day, 4 days post-emergency c-section, John, Mom and I stood in the cemetery looking for the perfect spot.

John and Mom were at task and I just...wasn't.  I stood there. I didn't cry, but I had tears that welled just waiting for me to give the go-ahead.

I didn't.  I didn't give the go-ahead because I was just too numb and too in disbelief about what had happened. I just didn't even want to be, much less cry.

John would ask me about this spot or that spot and I said, "Whatever.  I don't care."

And I didn't.

But then...right at the spot John kept coming to...right under a poplar tulip that John said would one day bloom beautifully, we saw it.

A little yellow butterfly fluttering around us as if we were new friends.

Let me tell you, friends.  Those butterflies do not come out in the COLD, December days.

They just don't.

We all saw it and Mom said, "Well, if that's not enough of a sign that says this is the spot...."

And, though I am not sure where I theologically stand on 'signs', I couldn't help but agree.

So, when we've seen butterflies, Luke and I—I take note of them.  We've talked about how beautiful they are and how delicate.

It's no surprise that Luke was pointing them out to me over a year ago.  It doesn't surprise me that in the past few months, when he sees one, he says, "You love buff-flies, Mama!" and I tell him, "I sure do."

What surprises me is that when he sees that little yellow one (and they are always, always, always somehow around), he now tells me, "Look, Mama!  A lellow Maffew buff-fly."

This surprises me because I've never told him about that day.  I've never made note of those yellow butterflies being more special to me than others.  In seeing butterflies (different ones, not necessarily of yellow color), I've told him once or twice that butterflies make me think of Matthew and his Grandma Jane, but I've NEVER told him that there is anything to do with Matthew and the yellow butterflies we see.

But he tells me.  Today, and in the last few weeks, he's told me.

Again, I am sort of muddy on where I stand theologically with 'signs.'  I absolutely believe in angels because the Bible is clear they exist and that they are different from our loved ones in Heaven.  I would love to believe that my loved ones watch over me and know my love for them, but struggle because I don't know how that could be and still no tears in Heaven.

What I do know is that God is a healer and a comforter.

And in these precious moments with Luke as we see 'lellow Maffew buff-flies", there is no doubt that is exactly what He is doing to my heart.

Healing and comforting.


A dear friend texted me this back in those little yellow butterflies!


  1. Lori - Butterflies have great meaning in our family, too. In our case it is about my Grandmother. I'll spare you a million stories and just share the most recent one that happened this past Saturday. For us, it is a beautiful blue and black butterfly that appears. Last Saturday my youngest cousin, who was just 5 when Granny died, had a big 1st birthday party on our family 's farm for his twin girls. While we were all gathered on the barn porch watching the girls open their presents, a big blue and black butterfly arrived and slowly flew all around us, with particular attention to the twins. That butterfly wove a path in and out, among all of us, so slowly. I was sitting next to my aunt and we just looked at each other. I had chills. I also don't really know how I feel theologically about signs, but I do know that the appearance of this butterfly at significant times of our lives brings our wonderful mother and grandmother to our minds and hearts.

  2. OH! I'm so glad you posted this! I'm not on FB anymore and I miss your updates.

    It has no connection to anything for any discernible reason but there is often a heron sitting on the post in the center of the lake when I am driving home from work in the middle of the night. It touches that place in my heart... it's very bizarre but for some reason, that heron shows up when I am feeling most alone. Makes no sense whatsoever in any way but I find myself looking for it.

    I have so many questions that I want to ask when I "get there"!

    Sigh, hugs my friend!

  3. I love this post! What amazing coincidences or signs... whatever you choose to call it, it sure is special and magical!

    I was never a real believer in signs either until I lost Claire and the outline of a heart appeared on the glass of our woodstove and as the glass got more and more soot filled the heart never filled over. Since then hearts have popped up everywhere and while it may all be coincidence, it makes my heart smile every single time as a reminder of the love between my baby girl and I.

    x <3 o