Have you ever experienced a tragedy? Big or small, tragedy is all around us, but so is Grace.
14 years ago today my father left this earth tragically. The year that followed was a bit of a blur, but one memory in particular stands out vividly among the rest.
It was the first anniversary of his death. It was a very different day than the one he died on. That day there was an ice storm, but this day was a warm pre-spring day and the sun was shining.
My Grandmother and I stood in her driveway saying good-bye after lunch. We were just near where he took his final breaths and our eyes were drawn to that spot where he had fallen. A butterfly was flying in circles there. Around and around it went. We stood mesmerized in silence watching until suddenly it flew over and started circling us!
It was like some magical moment from a movie, an undeniable sign from the Universe that he was there with us in some form.
It was a true blessing.
Sadness doesn’t usually coincide with a date for me, but for several reasons Dad has come to mind in the few days leading up to this year’s anniversary. Today my family and I went for a hike nearby and right as my husband went to reverse the car I looked out my window and saw it.
A whole field of butterflies.
The breath was knocked out of me and I had to get out of the car. As I stood there looking at the butterflies going from flower to flower I burst into tears. I realised my sadness these days is less for the way he died, and more for how he lived. At times, my Dad lived as tragically as he died.
Tragedy happens, but does Grace. One of the hardest things to take ownership of is that it’s our choice as to what we perceive. When tragedy strikes, it’s easy–so very, very easy–to deny the Grace in it.
Here’s a short video sharing more of my experience with tragedy and how I use it to inform my life rather than define it.