I would visit Benjamin and always got a thrill when I saw that someone else had visited him too. I then read of a survey conducted where infant loss parents were asked what their greatest fear was now that their child had died The biggest fear was that people would forget about their child. After seeing that, I knew I wasn’t alone in my own fears of Benjamin being forgotten. Benjamin is buried next to my dad and there is an angel garden (where babies are buried) very near to him and I would stroll through and look at the baby names.
I wanted all of those babies’ parents to know that their babies hadn’t been forgotten either. But I didn’t know how to let these strangers know that their children had touched the lives of others. So that’s when I decided to make little butterflies to put out at the grave sites the day before Mother’s Day so that the parents would see them when they visited their children on Mother’s Day. That way they would know that someone remembered; that their babies will never be forgotten.
The first year the butterflies were just made from tulle and pony beads. A couple of moms from my MISS group helped make them. That was in 2009 – the first Mother’s Day after Benjamin died (12-27-08). The following year I was pregnant with our rainbow, Thomas, and didn’t think I would be able to do it. That’s when my sister-in-law (my husband’s brother’s wife) said that she didn’t want the butterflies to end, so she and her parents made them – about 1,000. We’ve been doing this every Mother’s Day since then and the designs have changed over the years. We purchase the materials ourselves, so some years they aren’t as “nice” as others, but I think it’s the thought that counts.
This year we had planned to put them out on the 9th, but I lost baby Rita on the 8th. I ended up at the ER for an emergency D&C because I was losing too much blood. So I was really weak on the 9th…plus it was raining like crazy. But my husband was determined. He said that even if nobody else showed up in the rain, those butterflies were still going out. So we piled in the car and went to the cemetery. My sister-in-law and another friend from MISS also braved the storm and placed over 1,000 butterflies.
I only placed a few because I was having trouble walking, but I watched from the car as a woman walked up to Melonie from MISS and gave her a hug. Melonie later told me that the woman had lost her baby 26 years ago and she had wondered who had been putting out the butterflies all those years. She was warmed to know that someone still cared. Even if she is the only mom who was helped by the butterflies, that still makes it all worth it.
Keep Hope Alive,
Janet, Benjamin’s Mommy