In June 2007, my brother died at the age of 33 with 3 children. It was a devastating loss, especially for my mother. The one thing that could easily brighten her spirits was if a Monarch Butterfly flew near her and they often did after he died. To my mom, the Monarch meant that my brother was visiting her. She would spend hours outside in the summer and relish every visit she had. For me, my passion for the Monarch would come later when doing a project with my students called “Save the Milkweed, Save the Monarch”. As a class, we raised Monarchs from eggs, planted Milkweed and watched our caterpillars grow and change into amazing butterflies. I was hooked and ever since, each summer, I raise Monarchs and release them.
When my mom was ill in the summer of 2020, I would video chat with her whenever a caterpillar was going into chrysalis or a Monarch was coming out. It became something special between us that was very healing and joyful. Over these past few years, many people have come to my backyard to visit the Monarchs in some stage of their metamorphosis. It is amazing and beautiful to release a butterfly and more so when you have watched them grow.
The Monarchs are my teachers and I have learned so much about myself through my journey with them. Now, I love sharing that journey with others.