#3 The Spanish Butterfly Blog: Everyone Whom We Have Loved

The ancient coastal town of Cadiz, Spain feels like it’s in a time warp. Roman artifacts, narrow winding cobblestoned streets, wrought iron balconies, and antique churches create a sense of timelessness. The Phoencian fishermen who settled here in 800 BC used a sustainable netting technique that is even still used today. As I amble around the city, I find myself asking, What century am I in?

The antique feel is contrasted with vibrant life: young families with baby strollers, couples laughing arm in arm, and children chasing balls. The playfulness is palpable and contagious. Buoyed by this mood, I stroll along a seaside park through a playground teeming with children. Then I see a large statue, a white butterfly on a marble pedestal. It has a plaque dedicated to Perinatal and Neonatal Deaths that reads, “Everyone whom we have loved deeply becomes a part of us.”   

The tenderness of this symbol of loss amidst the abundance of life touches me deeply.  Suddenly, a ball hits my heels and a young girl runs up behind me to pick it up. She giggles, “Hola. Disculpe.” She’s not aware that 3,000 years of history precede her in this place, that the pretty white butterfly symbolizes not only transformation but also grief. But, I hope she will know one day, even as she suffers her own inevitable losses, that love is stronger than death.  

As I watch her skip away, I feel both the grief and the love of our universal life journeys. The past, the present, and the future: many lifetimes are linked together across the span of the centuries. And for each of us, in spite of loss, all whom we have loved deeply are imprinted within us, a part of the fabric of time.

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