Year of the Butterfly

Life goes on.. even when you lose someone you love, even when you don't know what to think, how to feel, how to act and what to say. Everything will be okay, is what people like to say, but it won't and you know it. All you can do is bury your grief and hide, and hope on the surface at least life will appear to be normal. Is there any hope?
This is a story of a young girl battling with the loss of her father. Accompany her on a journey of self-discovery and misadventure as she negotiates her way through bereavement and processes the unanswered questions. Along the way, there are dreams, visions and schemes, at least one golden urn and a kidnapping. Her story is about a metamorphosis from pain into renewal and growth. Her destination is a place of hope with a promise of healing.


31. Light slivers into the cocoon

By the time Mack and Whitey went back inside the cabin, the girls were really asleep. They left them alone and didn't bother to wake them for lunch. What was the point, after all, since they weren't going to be responsible for them after today? They decided to take the boat out along the coast to see how long it would take them from the jetty to the beach where the girls' mother was meant to drop off the money. The drop-off time was at 9pm, so they had lots of time. It was during this trip that the young girl suddenly had a flashback to the dream she'd had before. She’d fallen asleep with the thought that God would surely not take her and her little sister away from her family too - she simply wouldn't believe that they could die like this, especially when they both have things they still need to do with their lives.


With each dip of the boat into a wave, the picture of a nun on the beach became clearer and clearer in her mind. She could see the diamonds in the nun’s hands and her kind, sweet face. Again she heard the nun telling her that she was more valuable than all the diamonds in the ocean and then, as clear as a bell, she heard herself asking that question: the question that's been haunting her for months, causing her so much pain, she can't imagine suffering more than this. "Why did God take my Daddy away?" She heard the question with the sound of the ocean softly swishing in the background but when the nun spoke, that sound disappeared and there was only the sound of her voice. This time round the answer rang so loudly in her ear, it woke her up with a start, "Because he had done everything he was supposed to do!" The ringing stunned her for a few minutes; all she could do was repeat the words to herself over and over like a chant. He had done everything he was supposed to do.


When she could finally think straight, a million and one thoughts bubbled up inside her, all in disagreement with the nun's answer, but then she felt something stronger inside calming her down. She knew there were things her father had done in his life before she was born and other things he had done since then that had nothing to do with her. She knew that he had been somebody's son and grandson, somebody's brother and cousin, somebody's uncle and nephew, somebody's friend and colleague. Her father had been important to many other people too. She knew kids at school who never knew their fathers or had fathers who often looked past their kids, while he had been a good father to them. She’d learnt at Sunday school that every person on earth has a purpose, a reason to be born, designed by God. She always thought her purpose was to be the world's best women's basketball player. The Sunday school teacher told them it didn't matter what their purpose was, they only had to try their best to do the task that God chose for them. At the time, she thought that meant practising basketball every chance she got and learning useful tips from her cousins. Now things were making a different kind of sense to her. Her father wasn't famous or anything, but he was the best at who he was. They will always miss him and need him, but God had planned for them to continue without him because he had already done everything God had planned for him to do. That’s what the nun was trying to tell her. It wasn't the answer she had hoped for. Still… it gave her something to think about. It meant at least that her father's death was not her fault after all.


It felt weird that all this was coming to her now, right in the middle of this crazy, dangerous adventure. Her aunt did say that she would remember her dream when she most needed it… Although she still couldn’t understand why life had to be so hard, something about all of this made sense to her. The boat stopped moving and she looked down at her sleeping little sister. She promised herself that she would do what she was supposed to and save her sister, even if she had to die trying. Her body was shaking and her skin was covered in goose pimples as she lay down again. The boat started moving again and on the way back to the jetty, the girl tried to remember every single thing she could about her father, as if she wanted to burn the thought of him into her mind. By the time they arrived back at the jetty and the kidnappers returned to the cabin, her mind was clear and calm. Her skin was tingling and she had the taste of metal in her mouth. She was ready for anything.

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