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A Day to Celebrate Life

A little long, but hopefully worth a read...

August 16th is a complicated day for me. It's been filled with both celebrations and sadness over the years. It's the day my mother passed away 29 years ago. It's also the day I officially opened my first business, Balance Day Spa, back in 1996.

When we found and adopted our dogs Brownie and Pogo, we had no idea when their birthdays were so we gave them both August 16th to create happy memories on a day that can sometimes be tough for me.

Three years ago we mourned the loss of David's best friend Byron at his Memorial Service on August 16th. And today we travel to Tennessee to honor and celebrate the life of David's cousin Ashley Lindley, who recently passed away from a long battle with pancreatic cancer.


This morning I decided to go for a run before packing. As I often do, I looked to find something in nature to help inspire and reward myself for making the effort. Today I saw a gathering of butterflies near the start of my route. As I reflected on the trip ahead of me as well as the people, pets, and places that are a part of this day, and especially Ashley, I thought they were the perfect running companions.

Butterflies in and of themselves are beautiful. I love to watch them flit from one flower to the next, seemingly unaware of their own beauty and gracefulness. They're pretty good at sharing and seem to have a carefree, unrushed attitude and manner of being, at least from the way they appear.

More significantly, butterflies are all about transformation. They represent living one part of life to the very fullest, then preparing a place to go to sleep or hibernate inside in order to let go of everything they've ever known. When they awake, they come back to this world as something totally new. No longer beings that crawl or inch along the same old patch of grass, they now can fly and flutter easily from flower to flower and completely new worlds.

I like to think of each of those who have passed in the same way. Perhaps their Spirits inhabit some of the beautiful winged creatures like I saw this morning. Whether they do or not, they will always remind me of Ashley in the same way that a dragonfly always reminds me of Byron and a daylily always reminds me of my mother.

Like a butterfly, Ashley has been preparing for her transition for a long time. She has finally been released from her cocoon, has spread her wings, and is no doubt off exploring many new worlds and the beauty inside of them.

The next time you see a butterfly I hope you'll remember this and think about those people, places, relationships, and journeys that have transitioned from one phase or state into another. While you may miss who and how they once were, do your best to honor the beauty that comes with the change. Soak in their gorgeous auras as long as you are able. Then try not to be too sad as you allow them to fly away gracefully and discover themselves anew.

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