my tracey, the butterfly girl

How do you even begin to sum up memories of a life, or 3 years of friendship, or of the deep, deep loss I’m experiencing now that you’re not here?

I snotted everywhere when I heard you weren’t going to make it. I was angry, I was angry that you were leaving and I was too far away to say goodbye…you held on for so long, why when I leave the country? Couldn’t you have waited a little longer?

But then I remembered that beautiful goodbye we did have, how we laughed and joked, how I caught you by accident because you’d stopped on your way somewhere to feed a new friend you’d just made who was hungry, and I was a little less angry. I thanked Jesus for special moments…

I looked on my phone and found the “before” picture I took of you, and remembered how we talked about how different you were going to look after a month of healing and people looking after you. Man, Trace, I’m so desperate to see your “after” picture…although I’ve seen a few glimpses of it, you look better than I could have imagined! You are free, beautiful butterfly.

As I wept in that plaza in Spain, I thought about all the people who surrounded you, who came to send you off to your daddy, and I felt peace, because you were SO loved. You knew it, I know you did, deep down…I guess there were just some days that you heard too many lies saying the opposite – that wasn’t fair, you needed to know what was true…but you were loved, and you loved, you loved so well.

I learnt what it was to fight for love through you. Do you remember the time we talked about love and how we had experienced love in our lives, and where we hadn’t? All you wanted that day was to be able to tell your mum you loved her, and for her to know it. Trace, you had such a soft heart. I loved to hear you speak about your sister, your mini-me. She misses you…but don’t worry, we’ll look after her, I promise. And that kind man of yours, he’s family now. He tried to give me a goodbye speech, he thought now that you weren’t around, that I would disappear…he doesn’t know me at all hey, I told him he’d have to do more than that to get rid of me. I wanted him to know that amidst all the brokenness in both your lives that he loved you well, but you know that.

I’ve been thinking about all the times that we fought and argued and spoke out of turn to each other…those fights never lasted long, we always ended up laughing, or hugging or crying – it was so difficult to stay angry at you, you had too much joy deep inside, and that laugh. You laughed so easily, no one could hear it and not join in. You were so strong to be able to laugh through your times of pain.

My beautiful Tracey, I can only smile (and cry) as I think about our precious time together,


what we learned from each other and how for three short years, we fought for one another, and I am thankful, thankful that I knew you, that I got to love you and be loved by you. I celebrate the times we ate A LOT of food, or at least, you did…and I love that you were at my wedding, I am thankful that everyone in my life knows who you are because you met half of them, and they loved you, they prayed for you, they fought for you. Well, you’ve won, you’re hanging with your granny no doubt (how wonderful that must be for you!), and you can dance, you can play, and you are experiencing the fullness of life and love like never before. The tears are for me, but all I have is joy for you.

I love you my beautiful butterfly girl.

For those who knew and loved Tracey, there will be a celebration of her life happening on January 29th, 3pm at the Manenberg People Centre – all welcome…dress colourfully!

To read more of Tracey’s story and why she’s called butterfly girl, see here and here.



  1. We feel your loss but sense the joy that you shared with Tracey these last three years. You have expressed it so eloquently as a tribute to her.

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