My grandmother passed away while I was living in Japan. We were close and it was hard not being home to say goodbye. It’s Memorial Day on Monday here in the United States, and I thought it would be fitting to talk about her memory, why I chose the image for my header, and why I decided to start writing again.
Losing hurts. Whether it’s losing a loved one, a cherished dream, or our notions of the way our lives should be, losses can wear us down. I used to write a lot. I wrote in journals, was an English major in college, a writer of half-finished stories I planned to publish one day, and an occasional poet, but then I stopped. Completely.
I never imagined that I would lose interest in writing, but when the joy started seeping out of my life a little at a time, so did my desire to write. I didn’t believe in a lot of things anymore, including myself, and knew that it would bleed into anything I put down in words. There was a lot of pain, and disappointment, and letting go before I started feeling that it was time to move forward again.
So why the butterfly? Well, a few days after my grandmother passed away, it showed up above the number plate to my apartment. I was feeling pretty low and it was a pleasant surprise to have it greet me when I came home from work one night. I figured it would be gone the next day but it was there to greet me again the next night…and the night after that. It stayed there for about three days before it finally disappeared.
It made me feel like even though my grandmother was gone, she had sent a little friend to fill in for her, to remind me that she would always be with me, that she loved me, and that she believed in me. It was just a little white butterfly but in that moment for me it was something more.
Sometimes the words we write can be like that butterfly. They make it so we don’t feel alone in the world, they touch our hearts, and they stay with us until we don’t need them anymore. It took me a while, years, after I returned home from Japan, but I started writing again. My hope is that one day I’ll write something, hopefully more than once, that will do for someone else what that butterfly did for me.