April 22, 2004, my life was forever changed. My 14 year old daughter, Olivia Corinne Hoff passed away. It will be four years April 22, 2008.

As I look back now, I don’t even know how I survived. I didn’t think it was possible to live another day, another week, another month and another year, but I have. My grief journey continues to this day, such hard work, every day. For those parents who have lost a child, you all know too well how difficult this journey is. Along the way, I felt as though I were stuck, unable to move forward and, of course, not wanting to. By moving forward, I felt that I would be leaving Olivia behind, accepting life without her. I have moved on but in a different way. I will always have a broken heart, my life is not filled with joy, nor do I look forward to the future. It’s too hard to look beyond today.

Well, about two years after Olivia’s death, I noticed that I was paying special attention to each season, seeing and appreciating the beauty of each one. This was something that I had not done before. It was as if I was seeing through different eyes, eyes that were filled with much pain, eyes that still cried so many tears, eyes that longed to see my daughter again. Yet, I could see the beauty that each new season would bring.

As spring approaches, I find myself feeling so sad, crying more, as this is the anniversary month, another year. I just want to see my daughter again, then it happens. I will go outside to look at the garden I planted for Olivia and while I’m outside, the Yellow Butterfly flys past me, as if to let me know Olivia is okay. I see the Yellow Butterfly all the time now and I smile.

Yes, another Season and The Yellow Butterfly, my reminders that my daughter is always with me, always in my Heart. She is free, free to Soar, free to Fly, like the Yellow Butterfly.

Corinne Ruiz
Mom of Olivia Corinne Hoff

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Abel Keogh

Abel is the author of the relationship guides Dating a Widower: Starting a Relationship with a Man Who's Starting Over and Marrying a Widower: What You Need to Know Before Tying the Knot as well as several other books. During the day, Abel works in corporate marketing for a technology company. His main responsibilities include making computers and software sound super sexy, coding websites, and herding cats. Abel and his wife live somewhere in the beautiful state of Utah and, as citizens of the Beehive State, are parents of the requisite five children.

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