Saturday, August 16, 2014


I recently read an article about signs or cues we get from loved ones that have recently passed on. For instance, when I'm visiting my grandma's grave I've experienced a random gust of wind here or there - just when I need it most, as if angel wings are wrapping their arms around me. It's a topic that I know people have differing views on, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  I don't know that there is any truth to it, quite honestly I think it's a way for our human minds to find comfort knowing that everything will be OK. Either way, it's reassuring to people and if it makes someone feel better - then I say go with it.

Shortly after Olive passed I was sitting outside thinking about whether or not life would ever go on as "normal" and a butterfly passed by me.  It was brief but it got me thinking - maybe it was a sign? It brought me a small sense of relief, but the thought eventually faded and I went about whatever I was thinking or doing.

Last week while sitting on our deck, writing the blog post about bringing Olive home, I couldn't hold back the tears.  I was thinking about that sweet baby and how sorry for myself I was feeling.  I was supposed to be at home - caring for her, rocking her, snuggling her.  These 12 weeks were supposed to be just ours.  Instead I was coping and dealing with a loss greater than I ever thought I could know and these weeks off were now intended to care for me, allowing me to heal - or trying to heal anyway.

In the midst of my sadness, through wet eyes and a runny nose, I caught a glimpse of a beautiful black and yellow butterfly.  It came and quietly sat on the deck next to my cup of coffee.  Occasionally it would flutter about, but it always came back to the same spot on the deck - as if patiently waiting for me to finish my post.  After a few moments I surprised myself, not realizing what I was saying, I spoke to it - "Hello, sweet girl"


I don't actually think that butterfly was my daughter - but something inside me felt her when I looked at it.  After awhile it flew off, over the house and was gone.

One of my daily rituals is taking the dogs for a walk.  They've been such a source of comfort, knowing just when I need a snuggle.  It's also been helpful to have something here to take care of.  Our walks have become somewhat of a daily struggle though, as the quiet time gets my head going and I end up crying -tearing up, thinking about Olive.  I remember walks, through heat, rain, wind - especially at the end - trying to get that baby to move down so I could meet her. I recall how my feet would swell in the humidity and my belly would feel heavy - then I look down and realize that belly is gone - and I cry some more. 

Lately though, my thoughts have been about what I did or didn't do during my pregnancy - did I miss a cue? Was it the travel I did so close to my due date? Too much ice cream? Not enough iron?  It's not that I blame myself, per se, but I'm human - and I was the only one caring for her for 9 months, how could I not question myself?

Two specific times popped into my head on our walk that day.  There were a handful of times that Olive would move so sporadically inside me, almost as if doing ninja warrior moves in my belly.  These few times I remember comparing it to her trying to escape - was something wrong?  Was she in pain? Did I miss a maternal cue and she was in distress?  "Nicole, she is fine - be happy she is moving and letting you know she is still there.  Movement is a good sign."  Or was it?

A week before I gave birth I recall getting out of the shower and a wave of anxiety came over me.

What if I die? 

My mantra when we were trying to conceive, and toward the end when I would get anxious about labor and birth was, "I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:14  I would repeat this over and over again until I believed it.  I reminded myself, "Nicole, this is 2014 - mothers and babies don't die in childbirth anymore unless something is wrong - and there is nothing wrong.  You are healthy, you are strong, you can do this." My body created her, my body housed her, my body could certainly birth her and be strong enough for both of us during that birth. 

Just as I'm remembering these moments and beginning to let the doubt and guilt creep back into my head a butterfly came and landed on the ground right in front of where we were walking.  I stopped and watched it fly around me, I felt a sense of relief, as if somehow Olive knew I needed some reassurance just then. 

"Don't cry, mama - I'm OK. I'm with Jesus"

I don't know how many more butterflies I'll see this summer, or if they'll come exactly when I need them to as they have these three times before.  I will tell you that I'll never look at another butterfly the same. Whatever you believe, whatever you need for comfort - be open to it and welcome it.  God talks to us in the most beautiful ways, through His most beautiful creations.  Whether a gust of wind on a calm day or a lovely butterfly that is with us for only a moment - close your eyes and let Him fill you up with peace.


  1. I believe as you do. The signs are all around us and come to us when we need them the most. A very dear friend of my committed suicide. I was one of the last people who spoke to him and encouraged him to take care of himself. The method he chose was unexpected and some how I felt like I was at fault for not doing more. Much like your experience, a Monarch butterfly paid me a visit and I was over whelmed by the feeling it was Tom telling me he was ok and a peace and that I should be too. Such a comfort and every time a see a Monarch I smile and say "hey Tom", thanks for stopping by.

    1. It's amazing what we can find comfort in! Hoping God continues to send butterflies to both of us for years to come!