Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Butterfly

It was exactly one year after the passing of my mother. The siblings were going to have prayers to observe the occasion followed by a buffet lunch for friends and family who had been invited (and who could squeeze a family event into their busy schedules).

All of us, brothers and sisters, forced by circumstances to be independent from childhood, have become quite good cooks. So when the caterer sent a message to tell she was ill we decided to prepare and cook the food ourselves. That was why most of us were at John’s house that Friday morning, the first day of May.

And that was where the black and white butterfly came. It flew from nowhere and landed—as if to rest for a moment—on my arm, midway between elbow and wrist. I gasped, taken by surprise, but recovered almost immediately.

“Look! Look!” I said and everyone turned to see what was happening. “Mama has come!”

There was no response to my statement. My siblings seemed to be holding their breaths. Shocked? Then one brother said, “Ask for a number! Ask for a number!”

“And how will the butterfly tell me a lucky four-digit-number?” I asked as the butterfly left my arm to fly away into the sunlight. I must have been the only one who was sorry nobody had bothered to take a picture.

I recall reading a story in which the story-teller told about seeing a butterfly flying into her house after the death of her sister and she was certain the butterfly was her sister’s spirit.  I know of someone who said a butterfly came and landed on her mother when they were having prayers for her father who had just passed away. So I was really convinced that the black and white butterfly which came the day we were having the prayers for my mother was my mother’s spirit.

Maybe she came to say ‘hello’ and that she was fine. Or maybe her spirit came to give us her blessings and to tell us to be good to one another.

Many cultures regard the butterfly as a peaceful spirit. The butterfly represents immortality in Chinese culture while in Japanese culture butterflies represent the human soul. In many cultures butterflies represent peace, harmony and the circle of life or rebirth.

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