Wrapped up in a cocoon
To my Andrew,
Tonight will be my fifth night at home without you. I see you all over this house, there are a million little things that I see and remember that completely break my heart. I see you in the garage working out. I see you in the bed taking a nap. I see you in the kitchen drinking a protein shake. I see you at night sneaking Ben and Jerry’s from the freezer. I see you in your office, quietly, confidently typing away, crafting another powerful message for Sunday.
The boys see you too. They see you outside doing yard work. They see you with your hammer and drill hanging things on the walls. They see you sitting on the couch watching a movie with them. They see you in the bed in the morning when they walk in to wake us up. They see you in the driveway picking weeds. They see you in our closet getting ready for work.
I don’t know how to not see you here. You are a part of me. You are a part of our children. A special, important part. Life without you feels hopeless and heavy. I have countless unanswered questions, numerous broken dreams, and a myriad of shattered plans. The change feels painfully unnatural. I don’t want the change, I just want you here with me. I want things to go back to the way they were before.
On the day I broke the news to the boys Smith and I spent some time drawing together in a coloring book titled, “When Someone I Love Dies.” It is a strange forced feeling to be discussing death with a 5, 4, and 2 year old. I can see Smith’s brain working tirelessly just like mine, attempting to wrap his young mind around this new reality.
Something unexpected that has been helping us this week is butterflies. You would probably laugh and make fun of us, but we can’t seem to escape them. The first few pages of our new coloring book examined change. The book instructed us to draw an egg, a caterpillar, a cocoon, and then a butterfly. It was a simple way for a 5 year old to understand that life is ever evolving, ever changing.
Just a few hours after we finished coloring I went to close the curtains in the family room. To my surprise there was a tiny green caterpillar attached to top part of the curtain. What is a caterpillar doing in our house? How did it crawl up so high on the curtain? The door has been closed all day, how did it end up there? Usually, I would have squealed and ran away, but I was so stunned that I picked it up and showed the boys. Without skipping a beat Smith told me, “it’s a miracle from God.”
Smith, in his child like faith, believed God sent us the precious little caterpillar to remind us that He is near. He is in the details. He is connected and He cares. I agreed with Smith, and we both cried over that little caterpillar. We quickly found a jar and some leaves and now we are taking great care of our new pet whom Smith named, “little buddy.” We now get to sit back and watch little buddy evolve and change before our eyes.
Now, again, today in the midst of my quiet time this morning the image of a butterfly jumped out at me from a book. In the book, the author says, “I started to think a lot about butterflies and how if you cut them out of their cocoons or help them out in any way, they will never develop the strength they need in their wings to be able to achieve takeoff. They have to struggle out in order to come into their own . Flight only comes after the fight.” (Levi Lusko, Through the Eyes of Lion).
Right now I feel like a caterpillar trapped in a dark cocoon. It feels like a full on battle, a full fledged war. I didn’t choose this. I don’t want this. I just want to be a caterpillar again. I don’t want to be wrapped up in grief and pain, I don’t want to walk through this, I don’t want to be smothered by anxious thoughts about my future and the future of our children. I want this all to go away so I can be free again.
Today I am reminded that although I hate it, God has me right where I need to be. I can feel Him wrapping his loving arms around me. I am fighting it, kicking and screaming, but I can feel the Holy Spirit infusing me with His strength. I can feel God protecting me and holding me close. I can feel the safety and security in my own little cocoon. It may take years until I am ready to fly, but I know that the fight won’t last forever. One day, God will release me from the darkness and despair. He will show me a life of hope and a future full of purpose. I will no longer be a carefree caterpillar, I will emerge a new creation, a beautiful butterfly and I will soar to even greater heights. I can’t see any of it now in my dark clouded cocoon, but I know that I am safe. He’s got me right where I need to be, and He has great plans for my life and the life of our boys.
“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11
I miss you Andrew, I miss you so much, I love you,