With brown wings and white spots of different shapes and sizes. You can seethis butterfly is not perfect but it is beautiful. This particular type ofbutterfly has a special significance to my family because it is a symbol of theamazing and inspiring women that was my late grandmother. A women whose lifewas like a journey on a train , full of different stations , routes ,passengers as well as accidents, delays and stops along the way.The journeybegan as she boarded the train at birth on the 10th of March withher brother and parents. The first stop was Protea Street Kensington. For herfirst few years of travel she was accompanied by immediate and extended family. This adventure was full of joy, laughter andfun but little did she know that right around the corner would be many shortstops during her childhood years as she unfortunately contracted many childhooddiseases that threatened her survival, the worst being when she fell victim tothe Polio virus.
Miraculously after a terrifying few weeks she recovered andcould continue on this journey of life.For the nextfew years as she wandered the corridor of the compartment known as school, shemet many interesting people some of whom became lifelong friends. During theseyears, she found it difficult to conform to the structural formalities ofschool as her creative nature and ideas were not accepted in the educationsystem of the generation. She took agiant leap into the next compartment at age 16 to experiment with hercreativity and very soon found herself enjoying work as a hairdresser. She wascontent and her success as a hairdresser gave her the confidence within herselfto step out of the family compartment and enter a new unknown compartment whereshe met the warm, generous and vibrant man that became her husband. Togetherthey created their own family compartment along with their 5 children.She wasliving a perfect life on the smooth ride with her husband and children. As theylooked out the window the scenery was beautiful, the sun shining in the blueskies.
The sky so clear that they could see their dreams unfolding in horizonbefore their eyes and then along came an unexpected tunnel that took them bysurprise. They were overcome with panic as they entered the dark and daunting tunneland while the ride in tunnel was literally a matter of seconds, when they cameout on other side, he was gone. Their view hadchanged.
Looking outthe window, all they saw were dark clouds in the cold, grey skies.But lookinginto the uncertain and unpredictable distance as well as at her children, she soonrealized that beyond the clouds the sun would shine again.Travellingnow as the only adult and the person solely responsible for these 5 childrenshe had no choice but to take control and to ensure that they could continuetheir journey as a family unit, growing and learning along the way.As the yearspassed and the family grew as children got married and grandchildren were born,the compartment needed to be extended to make room for the new passengersaboard. With family and togetherness being what she valued the most in life ,the next few years were possibly the happiest surrounded by her children andgrandchildren. Using her creativity in various ways, spending time with hergrandchildren on a daily basis gave her more pleasure than she could ever haveimagined. But all of a sudden the smoothride turned bumpy. The excitement of going home on breakup day was sooninterrupted.
It felt like a nightmare that you see every time you close youreyes.The horror of seeing my granny banging against thewindow of the car with not a word coming out of her mouth and having no controlover the movement of her body. That day felt like I was travelling in an isolatedcompartment but thanks to the passengers that usually go unnoticed, all I couldsee were people trying to help in any way they could as well as the flashinglights and sirens of the ambulance.The strong, independent, capable head of the familysuddenly became fragile. While wecould clearly see her physically suffering and deteriorating, her spirit nevergave up.
She always remained positive and continued to focus on thetogetherness of the family. One of thelast things she said to me was “when I get better, we will be dancing andcelebrating together”. We never gotto dance again and for her last part of the journey she became a passive passengeras her family physically wheeled her to her final destination. In herhonour this train journey has continued and while she may not be physicallywith us in our compartment, we know that she is watching over us and guiding usSince her passing,whenever there has been an important family event, milestone or anniversarythat involved her, this butterfly always seems to appear giving us comfort andreassurance that while her journey might have ended, she is still a part of ourjourney. And alwayswill be.
Just as my grandmotheris a symbol of positivity, courage, inner strength, fight and the will to nevergive up so too has this butterfly come to symbolize these qualitiesWhen I findmyself in a moment needing encouragement, I think back to the things she said,how she lived her life and faced challenges. I hope tolive my life with the same values as she did and in that way continue thelegacy of a remarkable women.