Comfort After the Death of Her Daughters

How the appearance of a butterfly, that symbol of change, comforted one woman when she most needed it.

Posted in , Jan 23, 2012

Life after Death blogger Trudy Harris

Dear Trudy,
The youngest of my three daughters, Lisa, died of cancer in 2009. A year later, my oldest daughter, Linda, also died of cancer. Of course there is no way to describe the grief that followed. Soon after my youngest daughter died, a very close friend gave me a beautiful picture of butterflies. Attached to the picture was a lovely poem describing the wonderful change that takes place when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.

The next day, my husband and I were sitting on a bench looking out over the ocean when a white butterfly came to rest on my leg for two or three minutes. I had never seen a butterfly at the beach before, probably because there is usually too much breeze for them. It was a very tender moment.

A few weeks ago, my surviving daughter, Lana, was at our house. We were sitting on the patio when two beautiful white butterflies began to flutter together around us. We smiled at each other knowing it was a message from her sisters, Linda and Lisa.


Dear Shirley,
My heart just aches for your loss. To lose two wonderful daughters is unimaginable.

How kind and insightful of your friend to bring you the picture and poem about butterflies. The butterfly has long been understood in hospice circles as a wonderful metaphor for the life cycle of human beings. The caterpillar stage reflects our experience of being very young, when we are only able to crawl.  The chrysalis stage resembles the quiet reverie during which we mature and study and understand our world better. Before long, like the butterfly, we become more alive than ever as we enter into our eternal home.  

On the day my father-in-law died many years ago, the hospice nurse pointed out that the pillow on which he was sleeping was covered with butterflies. I wish you and yours great peace.

Trudy Harris

Trudy gets so many questions from Guideposts readers, we decided to make her answers a regular feature on her blog. If you have a story about a “glimpse of heaven,” please share it with us. Send it to [email protected].

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