A woman who lost her child is very angry and depressed.
She goes to the cemetery to visit her son’s grave and has an experience that changes her life.
Elizabeth screamed and threw the pan full of stew across the kitchen and against the wall. The rich sauce, potatoes, carrots, and peas splattered everywhere, but Elizabeth didn’t care.
She let herself fold down onto the kitchen floor and wrapped her arms around her knees. She heard the distant sound of someone keening like a wounded animal and realized it was her own voice.
If Elizabeth could describe her feelings, she would scream out her anger, pain, and outrage. That anger and that pain consumed her, she couldn’t turn away from it.
Even the pills the doctor prescribed after the funeral didn’t help. They just wrapped her up in a dense fog that seemed to sharpen her anger as she fumbled for the pain.
“My son is dead,” Elizabeth kept screaming at whoever approached her. She had a right to her anger, her agony. Not feeling was denying her loss, and she could never deny Danny.
Open your heart to miracles, because we all need them.
Danny was six, and he would never grow older. He would never go to high school or college. He’d never marry, or have children. He had been stolen from Elizabeth in a single second.
Danny had been running across the lawn waving his butterfly net, calling to her. Then he just fell in a tiny heap on that green, green lawn. Just like that, he was gone.
The doctors had talked about an aneurysm, which led to Elizabeth calling Danny’s pediatrician and screaming at him, calling him a stupid killer. Danny had been to the doctor for a check-up just days before he died.
Elizabeth’s pastor visited her. Her husband begged him to. He hoped Father Robert could reach her. But when Father Robert started speaking about God’s mercy and accepting His will, Elizabeth threw the pot of stew…
Elizabeth’s husband spoke to her. He begged her to remember that they had another child, that their little girl needed her mother. She was frightened and grieving too, he said.
“I can’t let him go!” Elizabeth said. “I carried him inside me, he was ME, he was MINE. How can YOU possibly love him as much? That’s why it’s easy for you to forget him!”
Elizabeth’s husband was angry and hurt and upset. “Mandy needs you, Liz,” he said quietly. “Danny is dead, Mandy is alive. I can’t forget Mandy, and neither should you.”
Elizabeth was furious. How dare her husband accuse her of forgetting her daughter? She loved Mandy, but she needed to keep Danny alive. She couldn’t think of her boy in the formless darkness of death. Why couldn’t anyone understand?
Elizabeth stormed out and got into her car. She drove to the only place that offered her solace: the cemetery and Danny’s grave.
She knelt by his grave and whispered his name. “WHY?” she asked. “Why…Why…Why?” She laid her cheek against the stone and let the tears flow.
“I don’t understand, why? Please, Danny, please baby boy, mommy needs you so much…” she sobbed. “How can you be gone when I love you so much? Why did you go? Where are you?”
Elizabeth knew that there were no answers, and the pain expanded and seemed to take over her whole body. Then she heard Danny’s voice: “Mommy? Turn around, Mommy!”
Elizabeth looked up, her face streaked with tears. “Danny?” she gasped. She turned, but there was no one there, no Danny. But what there was, was a butterfly, and it floated in the air above her like a descending angel.
Then Elizabeth saw another butterfly and another… Soon she was in a cloud of butterflies, and the pain drained away, floated away, serenity descending on her.
The butterflies vanished, but the serenity remained. The quiet blessing eased Elizabeth’s heart. She knew then that Danny was all right, that he was with her.
Danny might be gone, but his love would be with her for as long as she lived. Elizabeth promised Danny in her heart that she would take that love and pour it into the rest of her life.
That day, Elizabeth went home and put her arms around her husband. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I know you love and miss Danny too. Forgive me…”
For the first time, Elizabeth and her husband cried for their little boy together, and these were healing tears. That night, Elizabeth tucked her daughter into bed and told her a story.
“Once upon a time,” she said. “A little boy was catching butterflies in his garden. But when he swung his net, he found something much bigger caught in it, something with feathered wings.
“And the angel said to the boy, ‘Please let me go, and I’ll take you to see the most beautiful butterflies!’ The little boy said, ‘Is it far away?’ And the angel told him it was.
“The boy said, ‘My mom is going to worry! Can I send her a butterfly?’ ‘Yes,’ said the angel. ‘A butterfly for every kiss…”
And so Elizabeth shared the sweet comfort of a miraculous moment with her family.
What can we learn from this story?
We all need to come to terms with loss so we can heal. Elizabeth’s anger didn’t allow her to grieve and let go of her pain until she had a sign that healed her heart.
Open your heart to miracles, because we all need them. Life is harsh, and sometimes we can’t find the meaning we need unless we allow ourselves to believe in miracles.