Fall has always been my favorite season... until Leilani Mae. For as long as I can remember, my heart was full with the simple joys of Fall, as I watched the trees begin changing colors, displaying different shades and hues of red, orange, and yellow. The slight chill in the air made it perfect sweatshirt and snuggling weather. Family trips to the Pumpkin Patch, football games, bonfires, and chili filled our agendas.
Fall is different now.
Instead of feelings of joy as the season begins to change, my heart can’t help but ache, as I am reminded of our first precious baby, Leilani Mae. Her due date was October 29th, 2009. Smack dab in the middle of Fall. Would she have been a Halloween baby, sharing her grandfather’s birthday? Would it have snowed that day? ... because sometimes in Nebraska it snows in October... a lot.
What were once simple joys have now become reminders... reminders that she is not here.
It was not until several years after our dear Leilani Mae passed away, that I began to notice butterflies. Though I would see a few here and there throughout the summer, it wasn’t until the Fall that I really began noticing them beginning to emerge from their cocoons, delicately making their new home throughout my flower garden.
It wasn’t until then that I realized the amazing miracle of a butterflies' life. Though they must leave their life as a caterpillar, they emerge into something so incredibly beautiful and breathtaking, as they spread their new wings for the very first time. What may have appeared to be lifeless in it’s cocoon, is actually in the process of coming more alive than it ever was before.
Though my heart is extra sensitive this time of year, I have been able to feel a “new” joy, as I have made to choice to look for the butterflies, and appreciate each and every one. Each butterfly is a reminder to me that our babies are indeed alive and well, and are flourishing in the arms of Jesus. Each butterfly is a reminder that though we are apart for now, I do not have to forget them. Each butterfly is a reminder that they will always be in my heart.
While feeling somewhat down several weeks ago, I decided to go for a walk and soak in the beauty of God’s nature. While heading down my driveway I noticed more butterflies than usual. Each one, gracefully covering every flower in my garden. It was so incredibly beautiful to see so many.
While walking, I decided to count how many butterflies I saw along my path of about 2 miles. I began to see butterflies everywhere. They were in front of me, above me, below me, and to the sides of me. I saw yellow, white, and various shades of orange. With each butterfly I counted, my heart was filled with more joy and less pain. I felt so close to my babies. Though realistically I knew they were not “really” there, the beauty and gentleness of each butterfly allowed me to feel a sense of their presence.
I continued walking, counting, and smiling until I reached the end of my path. Stepping onto my driveway I counted the 97th butterfly!
What a simple blessing and a joy in the midst of such sorrow.
Thank you God for butterflies. Thank you for giving me eyes to see their beauty.