Do you believe in God? An afterlife? Nothing at all? One God, creation, retribution, reincarnation or Heaven?
Personally none of that makes sense to me.
However one of my greatest friends lost her young boy to cancer almost two years ago. She is religious and has a deep faith, firmly believing he is in heaven and some day she will be reunited with him.
So what do I say to her? Rubbish? Tell her she is wrong? Just because I have no faith does that mean I am right?
Up until young Daniel died I was very comfortable with my lack of belief. However since then I’ve found myself look for him, talk to him and wonder about where he is, most days. I lost my own dad when I was just twenty one, and have spoken to him almost every day since. I have wanted to, and continue to want to believe, he would never have left me, and as a result is never far away.
Last week young Daniel should have been getting his junior cert results, along with thousands of other Irish children aged 15/16. The day was so sad, as we quietly mourned the young boy who never got the chance to sit those exams or enjoy the party atmosphere of results day…or night.
The following day I, and a group of friends, headed away. (Remember?) Daniels mum was among us. One of the days I felt she was a little distracted, perhaps missing her young son or coming to terms with the fact he had missed another milestone.
We took ourselves off to the beach.
Late in the evening we were all sitting around chatting as the sun was going down. Daniels mum was in full flow, when a white butterfly began to fly around her. It settled on her hand, her head and her shoulder. As she continued to speak she gently waved the butterfly out of her way. Each time it flew but a few inches, before returning to her. I was mesmerised, for I had heard many times an old belief, that a butterfly symbolises a soul making contact. I continued to watch as it fluttered about her. Despite knowing my friend was in a little more pain than her normal that day, I decided to speak up, and share with her what a butterfly is said to symbolise. One of the other girls concurred with my story, as she too had been noting it’s attraction. Dan’s mum paused for a moment to look at the butterfly before it flew off once more. It never came near the rest of us, nor did it fly to any neighbouring beach goers. During the remaining three days we never again saw a butterfly on the beach.
Thinking back on that moment, I have no idea whether this is a myth or not, but what I do know, is that on a day my buddy was crying inside for her young boy, this butterfly came her way.
Maybe it means nothing, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if it did?