‘Heaven’s Butterfly’: A Friend’s Book on Helping Children Deal with Grief

Last Feb. 17, 2009 (Tuesday), I purposely went to Ateneo to finally meet (in person) a special online friend who was launching a book she and her daughter collaborated on. “Heaven’s Butterfly” was launched by Cathy Babao-Guballa and daughter P under the umbrella of Anvil Publishing — a Philippine first — a children’s book on how to cope with grief.

Just a little background story on how Cathy and I became friends without ever meeting up.

Our common thread was our friend Noemi Dado. I found out that Noemi and Cathy were involved in a grief support group called Griefshare. I can’t remember exactly when I first contacted Cathy but I started to email her and she responded. We discovered common things. I met her late father way back when he was with the Phinma Group and I was a junior auditor assigned to his company. We discovered common friends, common interests (writing, health and wellness) and were co-parents in our boys’ school at one time. When I was hospitalized due to kidney stones in 2007, Cathy (without even knowing me that well), sent me a wonderful, HUGE health book which I continue to use as a reference. We hooked up via email and would chat whenever we saw each other online. There had been occasions when we would plan to finally meet but our schedules somehow never jelled. Till now.




In her blog, Cathy writes about the inspiration behind Heaven’s Butterfly:

“The book talks about the story of our life in the first year after Migi died. It specifically describes P’s journey from a place of sadness to a place of hope….“Heaven’s Butterfly” was a difficult story to write in the sense that we had to dig up and unearth many emotions from years ago. It is never easy to dredge up the past, more so if the memories are painful. However, it was also liberating because in doing so, we were remembering Migi and all the wonderful memories we had of him during those four, beautiful years that he was lent to us. By sharing part of our journey, we hope to be able to reach out to many more children who have lost loved ones – be it a parent, a friend, a grandparent, or a sibling — all pain is the same. Whenever we lose someone we love, we are forever changed by the experience.

We hope that parents and teachers who read this book will come to realize that grief and loss, when it takes place, cannot just be swept under the rug. Losing someone is a real occurrence in a child’s world and we must allow that child to grieve. As adults and caregivers, we must do everything in our power to help them navigate that journey from sadness to hope.”


P, Cathy and me

P, Cathy and me (the online friends finally meet up)

The launch was held at Ateneo’s Dela Costa Hall since Cathy teaches in Ateneo. P is also an incoming freshman and a budding doctor-in-the-making.  Heaven’s Butterfly was wonderfully illustrated also by Atenean artist/illustrator, Frances C. Alcaraz.

It was a very close, intimate affair with family and friends of Cathy, P and Panch in attendance. I even got to meet Cathy’s mom, someone I admired from afar for a very long time —  not only as a versatile actress but as a woman who handled her own grief with grace and lives life to the fullest up to now. I was indeed blessed to have the chance to sit down and chat with Caridad Sanchez and her equally vibrant friend, Chit Almario.


with Ms. Caridad Sanchez

with Ms. Caridad Sanchez


The effervescent friends: Chit Almario & Caridad Sanchez

The effervescent friends: Chit Almario & Caridad Sanchez

“Heaven’s Butterfly” will be available at Powerbooks and National Bookstore starting February 23, 2009. 


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