This is my aunt Shade.
I called her Shade Pupho.
She was my father’s sister. The one with the big heart and the infectious laugh.
This weekend she lost her battle with cancer, a disease that stole her body but could never steal her beautiful soul.
The day before she died, I visited Butterfly World. I had been sick for over a week with an ongoing cold and my head was still pounding, but as soon as I entered the beautiful butterfly gardens, it was like the fog in my head lifted.
The butterflies were just stunning, gliding and floating around my head. I tried to reach out to them but they lifted higher, swirling in beautiful patterns. The different shades of colors and the way they moved with such grace. It was breathtaking.
As I walked through the gardens it was as if I was in a dream.
The Chinese Philosopher Zhuangzi once said:
“Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, a veritable butterfly, enjoying itself to the full of its bent, and not knowing it was [a man]. Suddenly I awoke, and came to myself… Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”
I love this quote because as I was surrounded by those butterflies that day, I had the realization how fragile and precious life is.
As I stared at the butterflies I had the feeling they were not actually butterflies, but instead souls of dear loved ones who had passed over through the years. I felt the presence of love, and God, and nature all around me.
Little did I know that less than 24 hours later, my darling aunt Shade Pupho would be among these butterflies.
Gliding onto new pastures on butterfly wings.
In life she always brought laughter and joy. She sang with the voice of an angel. It will be hard to watch her fly on, but I know I must let her go.
I know that if she is in a place like the place I visited on Saturday, surrounded by waterfalls, stunning flowers, and a field of butterflies, then I know she is in a happier place.
Through her charisma and charm she taught me to appreciate all the moments we have in this life.
Because life is brief.
And just like the butterfly transforms, so should we. We should soar higher and higher to reach our goals. We should never give up, no matter how hard the journey. And finally, we should realize just how quickly life can flutter by.
Flutter by…on butterfly wings.
I love you Shade Pupho. May your new journey be just as exciting and full of love as this one was.