My blog is called Chasing Dragonflies. So, what is it with all the dragonflies anyway?
While we were researching readings for Abi’s funeral, we came across the story ‘Water Bugs and Dragonflies’ (I’ve posted the full story here). As the story explained, we can never see what waits for us outside this world until we get there, but it is more beautiful than we can ever imagine. We are content, perfect and free…
We felt so much warmth from this story at our darkest hour, and knew it was perfect for her funeral as it could be easily understood by both young and old. I seemed to be drawn to the image of the beautiful dragonfly and could relate to the suggestion that Abi had risen in glory and was now in paradise. It brought me and others much comfort and, through the piercing grief, I always remember this and that one day, I too, will be able to be with her.
I’m not a huge lover of insects, but dragonflies are amazing. They are beautiful whenever they are seen but they are immensely difficult to photograph or approach before they fly away, so a clear sighting is a very special thing. Ever since we heard that story, the dragonfly has symbolised hope, Heaven and peace to us, and we seem to have instinctively used the image in relation to Abi. It feels unique, like her.
The most significant use of the dragonfly for me was the tattoo I had inked onto my shoulder. It was my first tattoo. A dragonfly was an easy choice and I chose blue as this was Abi’s favourite colour (the colour ‘Abi blue’ has also been a common theme). I wanted it to look realistic but not dark or so real people will keep slapping my back! As soon as I saw the design, I loved it…
A tattoo is a common way to remember a lost loved one, and now I can see why. It’s also very personal. I’m old enough now not to really care what people think of my body (child-bearing has done its worst anyway) and as it’s on my shoulder, it’s often covered in any case – this isn’t for show, it’s for me. I have no issue with growing old with a tattoo either as that will be the last thing I’ll have to worry about; it will be a constant reminder of 2013 and the hope I managed to claw from something so tragic.
We also used a dragonfly on Abi’s memorial stone – again in blue with silver glitter on the wings. This was another unique design and something the stonemason had never done before, but we felt it came out very well.
Abi also has two memorial benches: one at her primary school; one at her secondary school. They are both identical and, of course, with pretty blue dragonflies…
Friends and family also relate dragonflies to us and our loss, and we’ve received many special gifts and cards featuring dragonflies, in jewellery or candle holders:
We seem to see them everywhere now, it’s just trying to capture them on camera that is the tricky part!
Would you like to help me publish my new children’s book about dying?
I have written a children’s book based on the story of the dragonfly, which is in production and will be available spring 2018. I am self-publishing the book so that I can donate a percentage of the profits to a children’s bereavement charity. To help fund this, I have set up a crowdfunding page where I hope to raise most of the money to cover the costs of illustration, design and print and packaging. It is set to be a stunning keepsake that I hope would bring much comfort to grieving families. If you’d like to donate to the fund, please click on the button below, every penny really helps! I also offer a complimentary copy to contributors and a mention in the ‘In Memory of’ page in the book.