On the day of her funeral I sit in the corner, immobile, afraid to look ahead into the eyes of my mother for the fear that I’m going to cry. Fiddling with the hem of my dress, my sister stands near me in all black attire, tears streaming down her face. My dad stands a little farther away. This is the first time I’ve seen him cry in a while. And my mother, the one hurting the most, stands at the podium, talking about her childhood and all that my grandmother has given her throughout her life.
My mother gently tells me it’s time to release the butterflies, the one thing I was dreading. My grandmother always liked butterflies, especially monarchs. They reminded her of everything good in the world. They reminded her of a peaceful time, a happier one, a spark of light in the dark. Not to mention they were beautiful. But I couldn’t bear to look at them — it was like the final release of my grandmother. Once I let go of the butterflies, it meant she was going away for good.
But once we released the butterflies, as they flew into the sky, one of them landed on my arm. And it stayed there, while all the others flew away.
It was a sign. Something for me to cling to, a way for me to not lose a connection with my grandmother. That butterfly was her, telling me it was going to be alright. And then she flew away, to better days, to a better world.
I broke down for the first time that day.
I’m usually not someone who believes in the supernatural or that my ancestors are always watching me. But whenever I see a butterfly, I think of my grandmother and how maybe, just maybe, it’s her watching out for me from beyond. I believe that if I see a butterfly in the middle of nowhere, it’s a message from my grandmother, because she loved them with all her heart.
And for some, this belief I have is strange. For most, a butterfly is just a butterfly. But I’ve grown to accept that this doesn’t matter. Maybe some of the things I’ve come to believe aren’t for everyone. But that doesn’t mean I have to stop believing in it.
Take soccer for example. 30 seconds before the start of the game, I have a routine. I swing my arms forward, engulfing myself in a hug, and swing them back out again. I hit both my legs with my cleats, a knock on each shin guard, with a clear ringing noise. I proceed to then hit both my cleats with one another, making a clapping noise.
I believe that if I don’t this before every game, my team will lose no matter the circumstances. And despite numerous people telling me that what I’m doing is considered “odd,” I still do it.
Maybe it’s due to the fact that it’s what I want to believe in to convince myself of a better reality. I want to believe that my grandmother is really here, or that for once, my confidence in myself and my routine will help my team win the game. And I know some of my beliefs can be considered silly, but they help ensure that I’m still emotionally stable. I need something in my life that I know will always remain constant in this world. Something that, no matter what, I can count on, or grasp onto in times of need. Even if it’s “superstitious,” or “plain weird,” I need these beliefs in my life to make it so that I’m still functioning.
Believe in what you want, no matter how odd it might seem. Because for me, believing in the butterflies isn’t something silly or odd. It proves to me that my grandmother meant alot to me and it reminds me of memories of the past, when she was still alive, shining bright. It reminds me of the day that a butterfly sat on my arm, comforting me during a time of grief. It reminds me of her.