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What does a butterfly really symbolize?

By LETTY JACINTO-LOPEZ Published Nov 08, 2022 5:00 am

Dollie, my niece, was in her tailoring shop, listening to her Sinatra playlist when a huge brown butterfly flew in. Her master cutter took notice and remarked, “Ma’am, I saw that butterfly outside like it was waiting for someone to open the door.” As if on cue, Dollie’s media player played the song, I’ll Be Seeing You. Dollie bawled, “It was what Dad sang to me on the night before he passed. We were on video call and he was acting out the lyrics, pointing at me, which was his usual style of singing.”

The butterfly stayed with Dollie until she closed shop late that evening. “Dad loved making tambay (hanging out); he used to keep me company with newspaper in hand and a cup of his freshly brewed coffee.”

What does a butterfly symbolize? The most obvious answer is that it stands for rebirth, hope and bravery. “There’s something magical about the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly,” wrote Sarah Regan.

In my book, it symbolizes freedom. Death has not impeded dearly beloved souls from reconnecting with people they love even if far and distant, in another world, and in another realm.

In Celtic mythology, a butterfly is a symbol of the soul.

To author Cariad-Barrett, there is no one truth as to what the appearance of butterflies really means. It’s about what they mean to you. If you see one in your dreams or in your waking hours, consider how they make you feel.

For Gwen, her late Dad made his presence felt when the songs Moon River or Sunrise Sunset were played. “Those were the songs he asked me to play on the day he passed away.” At odd times, Gwen also caught a whiff of fresh coffee from his favorite blend.

A white butterfly represents innocence and the need for a fresh start.

For TinTin, there was this white butterfly. It followed her inside the car and stayed there even when she got out. On the night that her Dad was brought to the mortuary, the power lines suddenly broke down leaving the entire house in pitch darkness. Things started falling as if an invisible hand was scattering things, making a mess and pulling them off the shelves. “That was Dad!” she asserted. “He was simply making kulit, being bratty and mischievous as he was wont to do.

Another time, she was driving with her mom laughing about the crazy antics of her dad when suddenly, she felt a ghostly presence of someone sitting at the back of the car. She took a quick glance from her rear view mirror and the windshield wiper began to aggressively move back and forth and stopped abruptly.

“What was that?” raised her mom. “I don’t know,” Tintin gasped. The wiper suddenly began to move again and that’s when Tintin bellowed threateningly, “Tama na (enough), Dad, I’m driving!” She giggled. “My dad used to sit behind whenever I took the wheel. It was his way of telling me that he was enjoying the ride.”

If you come as a butterfly in our dreams or before our very eyes, we know that you are sending us love ever deep and lasting from your heart.

For Gina, when her father expired, she was in the memorial chapel together with her siblings and was discussing who should stay overnight at the chapel. Her eldest brother, Ramar, decided that everyone should go home to get a good night’s rest and be ready to receive visitors on the following day. Suddenly, the car alarm went off, together with the headlights furiously flashing, before both simultaneously stalled. It was only when Ramar said, appeasingly: “Okay, okay, Dad. I will assign someone to stay here tonight.” Instantly, the car alarm fell silent and the blinkers dimmed.

On the second night of the vigil, Gina heard a ticking sound like a slight tapping on the glass window of the lanai, which got progressively louder. She checked what it was and saw a plastic hanger on the clothesline, flying with the wind that grazed the window. She went back to the phone when again, there was a sharp sound of glass shattering, like a big rock was hurled through the window. Only this time, it was not at the level of the clothesline anymore but almost down on the cemented ground. 

A brown butterfly signifies freedom, a new beginning, and life lessons.

Gina always prayed to her dad asking for advice for when she’s feeling sad or weighed down over a problem of some sort.

One time, a brown butterfly lingered and planted a soft kiss on her nose. Another time, she saw a blue butterfly in her car and it fluttered around while Nat King Cole sang Mona Lisa on the car radio.

For John, Al and Karen, their late sister Christine made a promise: “How will you know if I’ve reached heaven? I will send you a white feather.”

Following Christine’s last wish, Karen had the heart-wrenching task of going through Christine’s personal belongings in her house. She found old photos, cards, and souvenirs including a box of collectibles. In a separate compartment, there was a tiny ornament box. When she opened the lid, there was a feather — a single feather — and it was white.

To our dearly beloved: May the choir of angels greet you and speed you on your flight to paradise. If you come as a butterfly in our dreams or before our very eyes, we know that you are sending us love ever deep and lasting from your heart.

With a prayer and a song, we embrace.