The Butterfly of Death


Loss was the catalyst

The thing that transformed my reality

Into a landscape I barely recognise

There is a clear line

Between my former life, and the one I lead now

The butterfly of death altered my world

The butterfly effect of one death …

For the first time in seven years, I look upon all the ripples and layers

And I acknowledge the startling power of that butterfly


The cocoon was shattered the day my mother died

On the first of September, 2009

The baby inside me was less than six months grown

The ghastly butterfly that smashed out of the cocoon

Brought with it a tsunami of blood soaked grief

The flood smacked my body against the merciless rocks

But the life inside me made me rise and stand

The baby’s father and I collided like never before, in an effort to survive the flood

The tsunami, caused by the grotesque butterfly of death …

Bound us together


We stood and surveyed the debris

The island we inhabited had been completely and unforgivably obliterated

Across the ocean a sanctuary was just visible – the little blue house on the hill that my grandfather built

We had to swim through the tumultuous sea to get there …

The tempestuous sea, created by the birth of the butterfly of death


We made it to shore, and to the place where I always belonged

I believed I would be safe there

I believed we could create a new life there;

That the legacy of love and laughter my ancestors imbued in that house would save us

I blindly tried to make that happen for the three of us

Clinging to the security of the past by moving into that house

The house that had been filled with family joy all my life


But that family joy had been taken by the butterfly of death

It took me a long while to realise that I had lost so much more than a mother

In the wake of her death, my family fragmented, in an effort to simply survive the pain

The tsunami separated us all – uncles, aunties and cousins

It created an impenetrable barrier

I was left with my partner, and our beautiful miracle of a son

The butterfly of death took everything else away

I cleaved to my husband and my son, and to the house which held my memory of the family that was stolen from us


For a while the sea settled, and it seemed as if this new life could work

A daughter was gifted to us – a little girl who bears the name of the grandmother she will never know

The butterfly of death gave me my husband, and two perfect children

It gave me the house I always cherished – the house that my mother grew up in

But the sea could not remain calm, for the butterfly was insidiously powerful

The waves it caused crafted wounds and voids

It transformed both my husband and I into different people – ones who were broken

Haunted by ghosts of the past

Desperately trying to create a life out of the debris of that past

It was an impossible ambition and it drove us apart


The butterfly of death …

Obliterated our world and threw us together

Gave us two children and a home

Where the grief and pain were disguised by comforting memories

But the potency of those memories, and the vacancy of the house, served to only break us further

The waves created by the butterfly eventually separated us

The house betrayed me

I believed it would herald my salvation, and keep what was left of my family together

But all it did was reflect the truth …


The past is gone

I am a ghost of my former self

Not even the house of my ancestors can save me from that truth

The house is meaningless without the people that gave it meaning

I stand in an empty shell with the stark realisation

That I no longer have a single thing to cling to for comfort

Somehow I have to forge a future for me and my children

With the fresh knowledge that I must now let go

There is no security or safety in idealising the past anymore

It was a delusion I created to protect myself and survive all the loss


The butterfly has finally allowed the waters to calm enough

For me to see all before me

And the profound butterfly effect has never been more terrifying clear


This post was inspired by the word prompt ‘GHOST‘ at The Daily Post

Image sourced from

One thought on “The Butterfly of Death”

  1. I hope Beck that you will find strength in your yourself that you’ve never known before, that those that love and care about you …you can take comfort that you are not alone.
    You have been given beautiful gifts of creative writing and visual art, and been given two beautiful gifts of children, hold these tight with all your might. You are precious !
    I will keep you in my prayers.


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