A Blanket & a Butterfly

The blanket Xhiv knitted for Evan
My sticker mosaic butterfly

I recently flew all the way to Houston and stayed in my daughter, Xhiv’s apartment for a few days. One day we carefully pulled colorful stickers off one piece of paper attaching them to corresponding numbered spaces on another, creating mosaics. Hers was a cheetah, or was it a leopard? Mine was a butterfly. Later we sorted puzzle pieces, creating first the frame and then filling in a pleasing scene with flowers, a red wagon, and playful animals. I began to color an intricately decorated elephant, and when it felt tedious put it away until later, completing it over the course of my stay. Such activities ordered and soothed my brain, a welcome respite from unpredictable emotions.

Thanks to well-functioning air conditioning, hot, humid Houston didn’t dictate the temperature of the apartment. I found it a tad chilly but a blanket Xhiv knitted for Evan warmed me. Only after covering myself with it did I recall how she wept when we found the blanket among his belongings. We had all agreed she must keep it and there it was.

Such thoughts catch me by surprise and elicit gentle tears.

The sadness of witnessing Evan’s siblings carrying their grief weighs heavy on me. As their mom, I want to lift it from them, to carry it for them, but grief doesn’t work that way. Each must make their own way, bearing their sorrows as they will.

Being brave is standing at the edge of the abyss that just opened in someone’s life and not turning away from it…… Being brave is letting pain unfurl and take up all the space it needs.

Megan Devine in It’s OK that You’re Not OK

I’m entrusted with riches in family and friends who witness my pain and dare to come near even while navigating their own grief. Bravely, in spite of questions and doubts, they hold little candles of faith, hope and love to light my way through dark paths. Bravely I breathe, and little more.

Sometimes the many who grieve alone, with no one to hear their story, nor acknowledge their pain come to mind. I didn’t often think of them before, but now, when thoughts of them come, I pray for them, resolving to see them, hear them, and journey with them as I am able.

The thought of accompanying others, whether in sorrow or joy, victory or defeat enkindles a fire of love that draws me out of myself and into the possibilities of life beyond death.

Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.

Romans 12:12

Perhaps soon I can offer someone else a blanket and a butterfly when they need it most. I hope so.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Lisa O'Leary says:

    Lani, this is so beautiful and I am so sorry for your loss. I watched Evan’s video that you sent out. I can’t even tell you how it touched me as I am dealing with another round of shame, guilt and anger, this too is part of the journey. Your sons video spoke truth into my soul. Lisa OLeary


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