“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.” L. R. Knost
Her name was Stephanie, and she was my sister. I say ‘was’ because I lost her to suicide sometime during the evening of September 30th, 2017.
My sister’s death changed me; I am not the same person I was before I got the call. I was at work, and I remember hanging up the phone and then picking it up again to ask one of my best friends and co-worker if he would come and see me in my office. When he came around the corner, all I can remember is asking him to shut the door behind him and the sound of someone crying. It was me, although I don’t remember the sound as much as I remember the feeling of his arms wrapping around me as I choked on my words and held onto him for dear life.
I’ve changed. I am not the same person I was before all of this happened. Transformed, is the most appropriate word, I suppose, and as I move forward into a future without my sister, there is the feeling that something good must come from all of that has happened. This can’t be the end of the story. Endings and beginnings are one and the same — isn’t that what they say? If that is true, then consider this the beginning of our journey towards finding beauty in broken things…
Welcome to Project Dragonfly…
WATERBUGS & DRAGONFLIES
“Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond.
They did notice that every once in awhile one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.
“Look!” said one of the water bugs to another. “One of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you think she is going?” Up, up, up it slowly went….Even as they watched, the water bug disappeared from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn’t return…
“That’s funny!” said one water bug to another.
“Wasn’t she happy here?” asked a second…
“Where do you suppose she went?” wondered a third.
No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled. Finally one of the water bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered its friends together. “I have an idea”. The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why.”
“We promise”, they said solemnly.
One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up, he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broke through the surface of the water and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above.
When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn’t believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body. His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings… The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from the new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water. He had become a dragonfly!!
Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by the new dragonfly lighted happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water bugs! There they were scurrying around, just as he had been doing some time before.
The dragonfly remembered the promise: “The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he or she went and why.” Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water…
“I can’t return!” he said in dismay. “At least, I tried. But I can’t keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I’ll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they’ll understand what has happened to me, and where I went.”
And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air….”
From: “Waterbugs and Dragonflies : Explaining Death to Young Children“ by Doris Stickney