A butterfly goes through four stages through the course of their life. First, it starts as an egg. Then that egg transforms to larva which then becomes the pupa or the chrysalis. Then after it is done maturing, the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis. Each stage is important to the life cycle of a butterfly.
During the life cycle of a butterfly, each stage is important and changes so the butterfly can eventually emerge as an adult butterfly. In grief, we experience many different stages too. Some of us experience all of the stages of grief. Others of us move fluidly between different stages. And yet others of us will stay in one stage for a long time. These stages shape us and form us into changed beings.
Grief and loss changes us. And grief and loss don’t always happen through death. As the daughter of a woman who lives daily with a mental illness, I have had to grieve other things. For example, if I ever get married, I am not sure if mom will be able to go dress shopping with me. As a little girl, most of us have dreamed of the day we would go wedding dress shopping with our moms. So I have had to grieve that they may not look the same for me.
Grief is a change of relationships. It transforms us and changes us. Grief and death are part of the cycle of life. In other words, grief reminds us of the reality of Jesus’ own life, crucifixion, death and ultimately resurrection. We cannot experience Easter without first experiencing the last Supper on Maundy Thursday and the pain and reality of Good Friday. Grief teaches us that life not death has the ultimate word.
However, that can be hard to trust in when we want our loved ones here on earth with us. Yet God tells us that God will never leave us or forsake us. God will walk with us through all the changes of life. Grief eventually leads way to dancing. “Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
Eventually our grief leads us from the egg, to the larva, to the chrysalis. And then a beautiful new butterfly emerges that has been shaped by grief and loss. A new butterfly emerges that reminds us day in and day out that new life does come from death. Resurrection hope emerges from the chrysalis.