She Writes Press (2021)
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (12/2021)
“Butterfly Awakens” by Meg Nocero is a beautiful story of the metamorphosis of grief and the journey to spread one’s wings after suffering great loss.
Grief takes on different forms for everyone. Some people bury themselves in work, others may avoid leaving their home or close themselves off to socialization, and others yet may lean into their support systems and emerge with a drive to make a difference in the wake of astounding loss. Wherever you may fall along the grief and loss continuum, there is no right or wrong way to process, act, or feel. Each person is unique, and every loss is different. In the case of “Butterfly Awakens,” readers are introduced to the author’s mechanism for coping and her journey toward awakening.
Author Meg Nocero lives a life of servitude, whether as an immigration lawyer or as a love button ambassador, and all the community organizations in between. But, when her career isn’t going as she’d hoped, she jumps fully into making a difference and being happy, something so many wish for but never take the leap to doing.
Spiraling from the loss of her mother far too soon and way before she was ready, this book stems from life after her mom, the dark days, the days of re-finding her faith and believing in happiness again. Comparing her life to that of the butterfly and her ability to emerge from the cocoon of loss to a beautiful life on the other side, “Butterfly Awakens” is Nocero’s memoir of loss and new life.
Early in the reading of this book, I too lost someone close to me due to cancer. I think this experience bonded me closer to Meg’s journey throughout this book. Described by her own father as “spiritually eclectic” Meg sought eastern medicine and other non-traditional ways to deal with her various pain and suffering of her mother’s loss. While very different from my own avenues in processing grief and dealing with my own pain, on some level, it helped me cope and understand the journey everyone takes to living again after loss.
Regardless of Meg and I’s differences, this book really began transforming me when she started describing Camino de Santiago, or El Camino, in Spain; a beautiful, yet excruciating hike through Spain that draws pilgrims from all over the world. Ranging in difficulty levels, hikers must walk at least 100 kilometers, take the trip for spiritual reasons, and get stamps along the trail proving their completion to obtain the credentials and accreditation of completion. As Nocero embarked on this journey of El Camino, I became inspired by her, bonding me to her grief and enlightening me to tackle my own.
Summarizing her own path and the works/workshops of others she prevailed through to emerge on the other side of her cocoon, making this an insightful read. But, ultimately, her journey on El Camino drew me in, motivated me and made “Butterfly Awakens” an exceptional read for all, whether having recently faced loss themselves or not.