Where Do Butterflies Go When it Rains?

Everyone who has a little kid knows that their sense of time is all screwy.

If you ask them about what happened yesterday, tomorrow, today, it all becomes lumped up to a moment ago, because they are so present. They are wrapped up in the now of their reality.


Life feels very much that way for me.

It’s in this moment.

This moment.


Grieving my brother is done by placing one foot in front of the other.

I walk.

Each foot moves forward, carrying my weight upon it. My bones, blood, structure, organs, physical self and all that is a part of it are propelled forward, moving on my axis in this spinning world.

I walk.

It’s one foot in front of the other.

In the walking, I feel the grace that surrounds me.


Sometimes I don’t think I can bear it.

A wave of realization that I will never in this mortal life again see Dana rises up and crashes over me and brings my spirit to its knees.

Do you have a brother? A sister? Have they been your best friend your whole life? Do you know what I’m talking about?

Have they been the person that you’ve told your secrets to, growing up, and heard theirs? Have they been the person you’ve leaned on and known that everything is pretty much okay in the world because you know you can count on them to be there for you?

I had that.

There is no doubt in my heart that I have experienced the best that a brother can be to a sister. I’ve had a short life of being best friends with the person that came out of the same womb as I, who shared more DNA with me than anyone else in the world.

And I struggle to realign this physical world without him.



I was set to go for a walk the other day. I had finished Proof of Heaven but felt like listening to some more of it and was about to re-play the book when I realized that there was a full hour at the end of it that I had not heard. The author added a huge chapter at the end of the Audible version only, one year after the book was published.

That last chapter was tremendously powerful for me. Kind of like a bomb dropping over my head and felt like the author was speaking directly to me.

One thing that I loved was how he talked about the brain, and what the brain suppresses. He said (and he’s a neurosurgeon, remember) that the brain does it’s job of keeping the body alive by, among other things, suppressing all the magic in the world. It keeps it kind of “normal”, just ordinary, because if we were cognizant of the full glory of our world and alike a reflection of heaven it is, we would go mad and be unable to function.

I’ve always loved trees, but when I look at them now, I really think of this.


These amazing, beautiful natural creatures that rise from the earth and reach for the stars.

How lovely.

This particular tree (above) is my favorite. I walk there almost every day, and I love taking photos of it and touching it. Sometimes I talk to it. It’s my friend. (don’t judge)

Across from my tree is Dana’s tree.


The last time that Mikey was with Dana, they were inspecting the water lines on the property. Mikey left on the quad, and he turned around for a last look.

He saw Dana lying on this tree branch, with his hands behind his head and a smile on his face. Eyes closed, content.

Mikey said that he had never seen Dana rest before.

meriah-nichols-8There is so much magic here.

It spills over and is recognizable even with the power of my brain that scrambles to dull it all.

It runs in currents in the air, through the earth and up again. It’s all around us up here.

meriah-nichols-4We live in a magical space so strong that it cuts through the mundane.


Yesterday I was outside.

The rain had abated.

I was standing there and a big, gorgeous butterfly came right up to me. The butterfly in “Proof of Heaven” came to mind at the same time as the thought of Dana, remembering in an instant that his physical self is gone.

I crumpled.

The butterfly flew around me and then flew to the limb of the tree that was next to me and alighted, it’s wings gently opening and closing.

I cried in that soundless way that you do when your heart is calling to God to please, please help it.

And the butterfly fluttered away.




Photos from this post are available HERE.


My Facebook is linked here, Instagram is here and Twitter right over here.

Other sites that I coordinate and that you might be interested in are A Day in the Life with Down syndrome and Two Thirds of the Planet

Meriah Nichols is teacher and artist who lives in a yurt off the grid. She is deaf, has 3 kids (one with Down syndrome) and a lot of chickens. She writes about travel, disability, and getting dishes done. She likes her tea Earl Grey and hot.


#deaf mom, teacher & #disability activist, living in a yurt #offthegrid. 3 kids (1 with #downsyndrome), a camera and a lot of chickens. Never a dull moment
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