The Truth about Butterflies by Nancy Stephan

The Truth About ButterfliesThey belong to each other, Nancy and Nicole-mother and daughter. They’re two halves of a whole, two facets of the same breath-until the day Nicole exhales. . . and never inhales again. After the death of her daughter, and quickly losing her own battle with grief, Nancy moves from the house she can no longer bear to live in. While packing, she finds a box in the attic. Inside she uncovers treasures she didn’t know existed and evidence that she and her daughter’s lives had been more divinely entwined than she could’ve imagined. The Truth About Butterflies is a factual memoir on grief, hope, and transformation, and a single enduring truth: Life cannot be restrained by death.

WOW – I was speechless when I finished reading this book and then I had to pause before I could breathe again! What an incredible story and I commend the author for sharing this very personal journey with the world.

There are a few things that stuck with me long after I finished reading.  I cannot imagine the pain Nancy felt when she lost her daughter but I can empathize with her feelings of being able to share her last moments. Having been with my brother when he took his last breath, it is hard to imagine such a beautiful moment amid a sea of sorrow. I felt blessed to have been there when he “crossed over” so I totally understand how she felt grateful that despite everything, she was able to say goodbye the way she wanted to, not the way doctors were trying to force her too.

I admire her courage, strength and determination for standing up to the medical world. At a time when families are so vulnerable, doctors should be more empathetic. Having worked as a health care aid, I have seen families struggle with the same issues and when they need support the most, there is nothing more heartbreaking than watching families being forced to make “the right” decision without the right people at their side.

I noticed some readers complaining about the religious aspect of the book, but it was such an important aspect of the story that needs to be featured. It shows how incredible faith helped Nancy and her daughter get through this process and I believe the author recognized that and it was part of the story that needed to be told. So many people struggle through these things and fail to recognize a higher power at work, no matter what they believe and that higher power should be acknowledged and celebrated no matter who it is – God, Jesus or Buddah and people tend to forget that. I believe that acknowledged or not – if she had not had her faith (even if it ever faltered) it was ultimately what got her through this process and the moment she “gave up” that is when God came in and took over – it could not have been more obvious.

My deepest condolences to you Nancy – thank you for bravely sharing your story and letting us get to know your beautiful daughter. Whenever I see a butterfly, I will be thinking of your story, just like I am pretty confident that whenever you see a butterfly, Nicole is saying hello!


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