My connection of butterflies and heaven…
A topic that I had hoped to never discuss with my daughter came up this year. We had to talk about death. I had to look my “baby” girl (5) in the eyes as she asked if I would ever die and I had to say “yes.”
I had to say yes because that is the truth, but with all my heart I wanted to tell her no. Tell her that I would never leave her. I wanted to look into her tear stained face and tell her that I would always be here to wipe those tears away, and hold her. To keep all the monsters of life at bay.
This discussion came up in the cruelest of ways. A baby that she knew died. Death is never fair, but as we always hear this is not the natural way. My daughter was hit pretty hard. All the shows that we watch had older people pass. In fact, she has kept an eye on my gray hair (what gray hair?) to make sure I don’t get older, and run the risk of dying. She didn’t even know it was a possibility for someone young to die, let alone a baby.
[bctt tweet=”When my daughter asked if I will ever die… #momlife #mommy #heaven”]
She began to turn this over in her head. Slowly to work through what this meant. Unfortunately she is her mother’s daughter in her mind as well as in birth. She began to have some anxiety about what this meant. So, okay a baby can die. So that means— I can die? And if I can die, my mom can die?
The grandmother of the baby that passed helped the children work through a little bit of what was going on by letting them know that the baby girl was a butterfly and every time you saw a butterfly that was her saying hi. This helped give a physical representation to the spirit that they felt and missed. And it makes the children smile to see the butterfly around. We wave to Zoey often when we play outside.
[bctt tweet=”I like to think butterflies are the spirits of our loved ones saying hi. #talkingaboutdeathwithkids”]
The night in particular that my daughter talked to me about death she asked about the butterfly thing. She asked me if I was going to turn into a butterfly because she didn’t want me to be a butterfly. She wanted me to stay human and be with her forever.
I assured her (as well as I could) that I would not be a butterfly. I believe that I was going to try to get to heaven. And that I think heaven is a place where all the things that make you happy are around. That I might eat a lot of cake and fly. This made her smile. Then the next bombshell- “Mom, Can I come with to take you to heaven?”
“Sweet baby,” I answered with tears in my eyes, “When that time comes, I need you to stay here.”
She responded saying that she didn’t want me to leave her. I assured her that no matter what I would be thinking of her, proud of her, and in any way I could cheering her on.
There were tears from both of us. I held her and tried to explain that this was not something to worry about. That we can’t control what happens, so our job is to be happy and live. That worrying doesn’t fix or make things go away (I know this from so much experience.)
She asked if I would remember her when I die. I told her that her sister and her were the most important things in my whole life. That if there was no memory of them, there was no memory of me. I would never forget the little people that made me mommy.
Last but not least my five-year-old said in the sweetest voice “Mommy if you turn into a butterfly can you go to daycare and land on my finger in front of the other daycare kids? And maybe could you land on Jerzy’s finger too?”
I smiled through my tears and let her know I would do everything in my power to land on her little finger and never let go. She saw the tears and asked if I was crying for baby Zoey.
I explained that I was very sad for what happened to baby Zoey and her wonderful family, but I was also very happy to be her mommy. That my heart had a lot of feelings and it was making my eyes water.