Many people have told me since losing their parents or loved ones, that they receive signs from them, or from God, that they are still with them. Not things that just remind them of them, but actual signs.
I promise I’m not planning on focusing my blog on sadness or struggling, because as I said in my first post, I’m ready to be out of that mindset, but I do want to share with you about the picture at the top of my page. First of all, I love it. I love the flowers and the big, bold colors. The photo credit goes to my sister and is a part of a much larger picture that was taken at the graveside service for my parents.
Mom and dad’s wishes were to be cremated and their ashes put together. It made total sense, especially if you knew my parents because they were inseparable. We followed their wishes and they were put together in the same vault. After my mom’s funeral mass, the vault was moved to the city cemetery for a graveside service. As we left the church, we asked the funeral director to please take along the beautiful flower arrangement that had been sent by their dear friends.
We arrived at the gravesite shortly after the service. My siblings and I sat down in the three chairs that were provided for us, surrounded by our family, right in front of where the vault and the flowers were placed. Within seconds of being seated, a black swallowtail butterfly danced it’s way toward the flower arrangement and landed on one of the three verbena flowers. The priest began the service, but all eyes seemed to stay on the butterfly who was enjoying the nectar of all three of the verbena. The feasting continued until the last “Amen” and then the butterfly floated away in the same fashion he had come. I felt that this could not be coincidental, and decided to do a bit of research.
My instinct proved to be correct and I learned that butterflies are in fact, very symbolic of change. The butterfly is transformed from a caterpillar in a very short period of time, the connection being that we should accept the changes in our lives and keep our faith as these changes occur. The Ancient Greeks as well as many cultures and religions relate butterflies to the souls of those who have passed away. I determined from looking at online photos that this was a male swallowtail and I’m convinced it was my dad joining us to reassure us that he was with us and there to help us accept the changes in our lives.
Today while I was running errands, I stumbled upon and purchased a book by Roma Downey called “Box of Butterflies.” She writes, “Butterflies have appeared in moments throughout my life when I needed a sign of God’s goodness. I pray that each story within it, each poem that I’ve chosen, or quote, or image selected will remind you that although we sometimes feel alone, we are never truly alone.” Her inspiration for writing the book was a butterfly that appeared as she visited her mother’s grave for the first time as a little girl of ten years old. Since then, she writes, “butterflies have always been a reminder to me of God’s presence, even in the darkest times.” Coincidence? I think it was a sign that this should be my next post.
So, for the butterfly who has emerged from it’s chrysalis or cocoon, and my parents, who are now in heaven, Life Has Begun!