Winter is long.
This winter seems longer than usual.
Maybe because we got snow earlier.
Maybe because it was too cold too soon.
Maybe because we’ve spent too much time indoors.
Whatever the case, winter is long and I want spring. I want the butterflies to come back.
I’ve always loved butterflies. I spent lots of time as a kid chasing butterflies and trying to catch them, until I learned that they can die if you touch their wings. True or not, boy did I feel guilty hearing that.
There was always something that drew me to butterflies. There’s something so calming and comforting in their delicate nature; something so beautiful in the way they flutter by seemingly just to get your attention. Perhaps that’s why grieving souls choose butterflies as a symbol of the loved one gone too soon.
As I sat at the computer writing the first draft of a social media post to let the world know that Melissa died before she was born the song Butterfly by Weezer came on and I was instantly flooded with emotion. I had always felt a connection to the song, but this time a whole new emotional connection was made. Just like a butterfly Melissa was too delicate, her time with us far shorter than was fair. I noticed butterflies more the rest of that summer.
Through various support groups/online resources I learned that many people are drawn to butterflies after losing a loved one and that they believe when a butterfly flies across your path it’s your loved one letting you know they’re there. I didn’t really buy into that – it’s a beautiful sentiment, but a little hokey for me.
And then on Easter, the first one after Melissa’s death, a butterfly flew past me and came back almost flying into me. It was fun to think it was her saying hello, but I was still on the fence with the whole symbolism thing. The next time it happened I was at the butterfly conservatory for a wedding when a butterfly landed on my foot and stayed there for the whole ceremony. I was still not convinced. And then came Mother’s Day. When I crossed paths with another butterfly on Mother’s Day I was convinced that maybe it was ok to think it was her dropping in to say hello. And even if it’s not, it’s a beautiful reminder of her and some days I just need that.
I’ve seen a lot more butterflies the last couple years. Maybe I just pay more attention to them, maybe not. Either way, for a brief moment, it makes my heart hurt less.
I miss the butterflies.
I look forward to chasing them again.
*I guess you’re as real as me
Maybe I can live with that
Maybe I need fantasy
A life of chasing Butterfly
*Butterfly by Weezer
Songwriters: Josh Honigstock / Myron Davis