Posted by: jude49 | September 28, 2012

White Butterflies and Grief

Hello All,

A few days ago, I saw a photo on Facebook of a white butterfly with a red heart in the middle of the wings.  And with this picture came this precious recollection…

When my sister was travelling in England, our mother died. She felt guilty for not being at mom’s side. The day after she heard about mom’s death, she began to feel sad and guilty. As she recounts it, she soon felt the presence of two white butterflies hovering over her. They didn’t seem to want to go away. As she watched them, she felt the strong presence of both our parents. (Our dad died a year, almost to the day, earlier.} She had a overwhelming feeling of peace and comfort and felt the butterflies were telling her to enjoy her vacation. She had been the main care-giver for my parents and for my aunt before that and hadn’t had a proper vacation for close to 13 years. Many times my parents and I had arranged a vacation for her, but each time she refused it saying she wouldn’t be able to forgive herself if something happened to mom and dad while she was away.

Some would call us delusional, but the white butterfly has come to have a special meaning for us.  Many times since then, both of us have seen white butterflies, either alone or together, and we always feel strengthened and reassured that they are still in our lives, not physically anymore but always, always in our hearts.  For me, seeing the butterfly, especially when I feel troubled, is a sign of hope for better things as well as a sign that things will be resolved or mended.

One meaning I take from this experience is that we can’t control what happens.  Many things are just out of our control.  We can rage with all sorts of negative emotions and get caught up in the “would have, could have, should have” syndrome, but, in the end, it doesn’t do any good.  It just spirals us downward  I believe that people, for the most part, do the best they can.

Another meaning I take from this experience is that we do have a Heavenly Father (you may call him something else) who is cognizant of our life challenges and provides comfort and reassurance for His children.  I noticed a distinct difference in my sister when she returned home.  There was a peace, an acceptance of things “as they are” that, although surprising, was gratifying to witness.  Although she still experiences moments of guilt and regret, I can see that the white butterfly has helped both of us develop a richer and deeper connection with our parents and each other.  Good gifts.

For those of you reading this post, I would appreciate your sharing of any symbols that have helped you better bear your grief and moved you forward with your mourning process.

Blessings, as always,




  1. Very ironic. I just left my counselor’s office. I’ve been talking with her since last November about my husband’s death. Today I told her ‘my story’ of seeing white butterflies after his death. She was thinking butterflies are a symbol for grief & said she was going to look it up. I told her I think of them as new life. So I’m sitting here in my car waiting for my daughter to get out of school and I search butterflies & grief myself – I found this article. Amazing. I’d like to add that I had asked my husband before he passed, if he could think of an object or something that when me & our daughter saw it we would know he was with us. He replied – ‘anything white’ . The day of his funeral I saw a saw a white butterfly on one of my butterfly bushes! We’ve seen many more around us!!

    • Hi Cathy,

      Thank you so much for sharing this touching and poignant story. I had not thought of them as a metaphor for new life. I like that. May you and your daughter see many more white butterflies…

      Warmly, Judith

  2. i have lost both my parents and my partner lost his mum, my 5 year old daughter always talks about them although she never met my parents and was just one when my partners mum died, the other day we had 3 white butterflies come so close to us i was amazed, they were just flying in front of our faces, i believe this was her 3 grandparents all coming to say hello to my daughter! made me so happy

    • Hello,

      Thank you for sharing such an inspirational story. I believe we knew each other before this earth-life. And I, like you, believe that the grandparents were coming to say hello. What a lovely experience for all of you!

      Warm Wishes, Judith

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