Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Butterflies and cockatoos

I went for a long walk on the beach yesterday.

I went for another one today.

Funny, the beach for me has always been a place for fun and relaxation.
These past two days I felt uncomfortable and tense most of the time I walked, until the roaring ocean crashes, swirling osprey squawks and the unrelenting wave tides reminded me that life goes on.

I stared at my feet in the sand and realised how insignificant we are - not in a morbid way, but I think in a positive way - as I try to put what has happened to us into some sort of perspective.

But I find I am trying too hard to make sense of it. And this time, I'm afraid, it doesn't make sense. But that fact, frankly, is ridiculous. Nonsense. How can it not make sense? Everything in my life until now has taught me that some sort of sense can be made of almost all things. Take your time, consider it, figure out a way to fix it, tackle it, break it down, share it - and then just do it.

Not this time.

I know this is a recurring theme, but I feel all over the place emotionally. Yes, I can tell myself there are millions of people who have it worse than us in the world right now. But in the next thought, I get my defences up and scream to my inner conscience "but this is pretty damn awful too, thanks very much".

Yes, I can say it will take time, that what I am feeling is normal right now - I know that, I do. But I am getting increasingly angry at those statements too, because they are not helping me RIGHT NOW.

Patience was never one of my strong suits.

Anger has become a shamefully big part of me lately. And I don't like it. I snap at T or Jay unnecessarily if the slightest thing goes against the picture I have in my head. It's like I am asking them for help setting the table, or something, and then explode in a rage because the knives and forks are laid out in a way I wouldn't have put them. Small, stupid, insane, ridiculous things like that make my ears hot and my brain swell in frustration, and before I know it, I have yelled at Jay or snapped a pointless remark at T.

I know that's no way to treat people, especially those closest to you. But I almost cannot stop it. Even though I feel worse than I already do once I blow up.

But some amazing, I think, things are also happening. Apart from the truly wonderful support from family and friends, which is continuing unabated, I feel a little buoyed by our native fauna.

During both walks on the beach, I had a bit of a cry. Both times it was triggered by plain old sadness and that destructive "why me" talk. Both times, the tears were fuelled by me seeing a family playing with a pregnant mother and a little boy - different mother and different kid each day, but each one was at about the same stage of pregnancy and the boys were both just walking. First of all, that's weird, I think...but then again, I am noticing pregnant women EVERYWHERE.

Anyway, yesterday was incredible because it was as if someone had scripted the appearance of these gorgeous butterflies each time I had a negative thought.

Yesterday, these little guys were everywhere.

And I swear, they appeared every single time I sobbed particularly loudly (yes, I was doing those gasping cries, quite melodramatic really), every single time I felt particularly low and every single time I caught sight of that family with the pregnant mum and little boy and felt a physical pain in my chest. Yesterday, they were everywhere. It was spooky.

Sometimes they hovered around me, other times they flew past making sure they were in my eye line, but mostly I saw them zoom in my general direction, before stopping mid-air right near me...almost as if to check I was ok.

Writing it now, it sounds crazy. I know. And they were there again today when I had another cry while sitting on the coffee rock staring at the monotony of the waves and desperately wishing life took as easy and predictable a course as the ocean. Can you envy a body of water? I sure can.

I tell myself those butterflies carry the soul of our baby. It's a thought that cripples me with sadness as much as it uplifts me - and I am crying hard writing this right now.

The other stunning member of the local wildlife family who has cropped up in our backyard lately is the yellow-tailed black cockatoo.

We have lived here about four years and have never heard their distinctive call. I first noticed them about a month ago - when our world started its inward cave about the baby.

I took Jay for a walk in the pram early one morning last week and just as we entered underneath a huge canopy of yellow bottle brush trees, there it was.

That unmistakable screech. They were right above us. Two of them - it's always two - snacking on the flowers.

I pointed them out to Jay and we watched them before they flew off, spreading their wings to reveal a breathtaking splash of yellow, which on that morning was made even brighter by the sun's reflection behind the black plumage.

Like I said, it sounds crazy. But I noticed them, they were real, they were there and I don't think the timing was purely coincidence.


  1. I like the butterflies and your beliefs about them. I like the black and the teal too and all the kinds of symbolism it conjurs. The crying is good, the yelling is normal. more hugs are needed all around I think.

  2. You're so not crazy Bec! When my aunt passed I asked for a sign that I knew would be her & I got butterfly. I'm like suuuurrrre. I travel to QLD for the funeral, walk into my mothers house to see a butterfly in a painting she's had for 20+ years. I'd never noticed the butterfly. Check into our motel the night before the funeral butterflies in the painting on the wall. I open the door to go outside morning of the funeral & there is a butterfly staring right at me. I'm sitting in the church waiting for the service to begin the minister walks in wearing a tie covered in BUTTERFLIES! I said, okay I get it...it's butterflies. Please don't disregard these wonderful signs from our loved ones who have passed over. It's their way of letting us/you know that they are okay. Sending lots of love & hugs to you all. Mell S

  3. Butterlies are suppose to signify journeys as we pass through so many different stages like they do to become the butterfly..
    They are a strong and beautiful and delicate sign. I only hope the earth keeps giving you something that may even for a moment give you some peace... love you guys xx