My family and I recently visited the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum to see the “Butterflies Alive” exhibit. I wanted to go so that my children could see the unique butterflies and experience them flying around while enjoying their beauty. When we arrived, we were given a butterfly map of the various kinds that could be found inside the enclosed space. My 3 year old daughter and I grabbed the first bench we saw and started pointing out the butterflies and matching them to the ones on the map. I looked down at my daughter, as I often do, in amazement, love and excitement because I love seeing how things “click” as well as being able to connect with her.
As I sat there with her, I thought of an acquaintance that lost her newborn triplets in 2007. In her effort to mourn and heal, she started raising monarch butterflies. She refers to the butterflies as little angels. Unexpectedly, I found being among these butterflies to be a healing process for the little angel I lost and will never know as well as for the sister I lost many years ago. They are on my mind regularly and I often wonder what it would have been like to have them smiling, laughing, and just being present. Before visiting this butterfly garden and sitting among these angels, I have always felt sadness when I thought of both of them. Today, as the butterflies flew overheard, I imaged all the angels in the room including my two special ones visiting me and saying that they were okay.
I couldn’t find the words to describe the positive feelings I had so I tried to search the internet and came upon this: “Herein lies the deepest symbolic lesson of the butterfly. She asks us to accept the changes in our lives as casually as she does. The butterfly unquestioningly embraces the chances of her environment and her body.” Although these two angels are not in my life, they have had a positive impact on it. I believe that it is because of them I cherish moments with my children and husband. It could be something as small as a full conversation with my 3 year old daughter or a laugh and giggle from my son as I’m nursing him. Every day I feel so lucky to be able to have my husband and children in my life.
For me, I realize that this is what healing feels like; a happiness in my heart. I no longer need to mourn the loss of two lives but to celebrate the love and lessons that they have taught me.
This guest post was contributed by Cindy Alexander. She is the mother of two children, ages 3 and 1, as well as the wife of a wonderfully supportive husband. Her bi-racial family believes in attachment parenting, emotion coaching, and extended breastfeeding. She is a co-blogger on Mamas At Work, a blog about working mamas and their ability to effectively practice these parenting techniques.