Wednesday, May 11, 2011

When Butterflies Return

My father died when I was 10. He died during the night while he was sleeping. The old people said he had a nightmare in his sleep. The doctor said otherwise. Cardiac arrest due to a low blood pressure, whatever that is. What I learned back then is that it is not a nightmare.

A couple of weeks later, we saw a black butterfly flying inside our house. The old people would say that it is my father visiting us. You see, there was an old saying that whenever your loved one dies, they visit you one last time in the form of butterflies before they finally proceed to heaven or wherever they were destined to go. But back then I began losing belief on the old sayings. So we just drove the butterfly out of our house and away from us.

We never saw any butterflies again.

Many years later, as a married man, I encountered all sorts of butterflies, big and small, dark and light colored. But they mean nothing. They are just butterflies.

My wife once had a very grave sickness. The old townfolks said it was due to bad spirits. They told me to bring her to a faith healer. Being one of the financially less fortunate ones, I took my ailing wife to a faith healer because we don't want to spend much on doctors.

My wife became sicker and sicker.

In the end, we went to a hospital and consulted a doctor. My wife was cured after a few days. And I've lost any faith left in our beliefs and traditions.

Years later, we were gifted with our first child. She was a very beautiful girl. I remember playing with her every day before and after work. She learned to crawl on her third month, stand on her sixth and walk albeit clumsily on her ninth.

On her tenth month, she caught a high fever. We went immediately to the doctor for consultation. But the doctor was clueless. She kept getting sicker by the day. We went to other doctors but no one had a clue. The old townfolks said she it was her fate; that it was her time to go and that we can do nothing anymore. But I never believed them.

She passed away on her first birthday. We never know what really happened. I fell into a very deep depression. They said I should let go. But I just can't. I didn't even hear her first words and yet she was gone. I don't even know what happened to her. I cursed our beliefs. I cursed our traditions. I cursed fate, destiny, God.

A few weeks later, as i was sitting in my bed, I saw a small, yellowish butterfly hover on the floor near my feet. Then, the butterfly flew towards me and perched on my knee.

She just said 'papa'.