butterfly

Today was almost all family time..made a immensely helpful phone call on the way home with a woman a long ago friend connected me with.. its amazing what just asking for help can turn up..

Since it was Tony’s last day off of work with the modified schedule, I told him to decide what sounded like fun. He said the San Francisco zoo.. we didn’t get to see the whole thing last time. It was a great choice. It gave us time to be away.. with cooler weather and do some forced nap time for the kiddos. I took Jennifer to the Oakland zoo once when I was pregnant with Jonathan. . so I feel a tinge of guilt over never taking her to this zoo..

Walking out I noticed a sign about donors.. I have never really looked at those kinds of things before. .. and I thought           $20,000..$ 100, 000 and higher. People care.. about all sorts of things people care. It just gave me a  boost about Unravel.

 

Right away we saw a butterfly… and again .. and again.. I pointed it out to the boys every time. Then finally whispered to myself “I wonder if she sent it”. Never saw it again.

DSC_0680We had those caterpillars from Easter and 2 weeks ago they turned into butterflies. We kept them out on the counter so the kids and I could watch for the changes.. and really get to enjoy them as butterflies. When we did it with Jennifer I hung it up in the play room.. this way was much better.

When they hatched out.. no longer a caterpillar but a butterfly.. with the chrysalis still DSC_0773hanging.. empty… it hit me how much this is a good way to prep them for visiting her at the cemetery. We talked about how they looked as caterpillars.. now so different their old caterpillar friends wouldn’t even recognize them and how the chrysalis that housed them was just a shell.. the butterfly that came from inside was the true being .. Much like Jennifer. Her soul. What made her the girl we remember was on the inside.. her body just a shell. We talked about how once the butterfly has flown away we can still look at the chrysalis and remember them.

Jonathan was really intrigued and it seemed to resonate well with him. We gave them watermelon and watched them for a few days. The night before the 5k I knew it was time to let them go. We all went to the backyard.. and the first thing I saw was a “wisher” a dandelion floating in the sky. A huge massive one. I grabbed it and held onto it. First thing we did was put her stone in the ground. The one that a brother of mine got for everyone in our family.. to have her with us at every family function.. no matter the house. The idea means so much to us.. the boys put one out my parents.. and Jonathan and I look at the one at my sisters every time we go there. I had been waiting for the perfect time.. and that night was it. We laid it out between 2 rose bushes we were given as raffle prizes from a local fundraiser. And behind it a dragonfly.

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We all got together by her stone and made our own wishes.. some silent some aloud. And as a family minus one we blew it up to heaven.

DSC_0882Then we let the butterflies go. I remember so vividly that day doing it with her. One of my favorite pictures of her.. headband in the middle of her forehead.. huge grin.. in pajamas in the middle of the day. Not the ones she had slept in.. but ones she randomly changed into. .. Its in a frame in the kids bathroom.

She was the only one that a butterfly landed on .. and it hung out with her for awhile. This time Nicholas got one to stay on him.

Today after the zoo I was inside and Tony and the kids were in the backyard. Jonathan was so excitedly calling for me to go join them. He had the smallest most beat up wisher proudly in his hand. He had us all gather together and make a wish and blow it up to heaven.

I had forgotten we had done that together.. but obviously it is something that really resonated with him.. We struggled to get that little thing up in the air. I told him we could leave it on top of something high and it would be carried by the wind.. but luckily we got it over the neighbors fence.. I saw it sink to the ground again..the boys didn’t.. and I am sitting here now hoping so much that it has made its journey to our girl.

The whole time at the zoo today I had a slow, silent, constant ache in my chest.. my missing her. There is something in the way I felt today that was comforting. My hurt for her was at a level my boys could enjoy me.. but palpable enough I was always aware of it.

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I watched Charlotte pet the goat.. and I remembered how much Jennifer CSC_0101always liked petting zoos. How she was kind and gentle. How in Disney World right outside the petting zoo she threw up so violently. The start of the uncontrollably shaking   in her legs. Where her vomiting was so strong it took over her whole body. A completely different kind of throwing up than I had ever experienced.. something a pray I never have to again..

IMG_0831Cancer pukes I thought.. I felt so bad for her.. for us..

in reality it was worse.. the beginning of her steep downward turn.

death vomit..

I wonder if it’s what killed her. slowly starving..

My hurt for her is our relationship.. and I need it. My pain makes me a better more present mom.. as long as I save the over powering times for when I am alone.

They think about her though.. my boys.. each in their own way.

Nicholas brought up walking with sissy.. as his favorite part of the day. That she is there.. in a pink dress.. no wings. But she does have pockets.

Jonathan is so like me. He has his necklace now.. and he touches it.. rubs it for comfort. And it seems to work for him. I wonder what he is thinking in those moments.. I wonder if I should ask once in awhile or allow him his private time with her memory.. especially if part of it is in his sub conscience. DSC_0059

I know its not always though.. sometimes I can see him calming himself through this connection to her.. Today he had his last swim lesson for a few weeks. For whatever reason he got really scared. So much so that he couldn’t contain it and cried. .. just a little.. but true genuine scared tears. He took a minute on the step and rubbed the necklace.. his expression doing it reminded me of Charlotte getting her pacifier.. a relief and melting of tension..

….sissy .

Thats a real struggle we have.. trying to navigate when to talk about her.. and when not to. I know they are comfortable talking about her with me.. but I never want them to feel like its expected either. Jonathan talks about *missing* her.. a lot.. Tonight when it was just him and I for a few minutes at the table he talked about *her* for the first time that I can remember. That she used to give him lots of kisses and hugs.. I reminded him how many he gave her.

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..and then we talked memories.. simple easy memories.

I struggled to come up with them though. she lived 6 years 3 months.

2,299 days.

Much of them a blur for me.. full of newborns..

I am so thankful to whoever invented the camera.. without my photographs I would be lost.

I feel horrible to admit that.. how desperately few stories I have of her. And its a huge piece of my fear with other people.. such a limited amount of stories to tell..

will others grow tired of hearing the same ones over and over again??

truth.

yes some will. .. i want to say not everybody.. but i am really truly scared of that.

In some ways, all she is anymore is stories and memories..

videos and pictures.

a tiny bit of ashes. ..

and all of my heart.

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24 Responses to “butterfly”

  1. You will never know how much I hurt for you. Such poweful, raw, true words in this last paragraph of sentences. You have mentioned several times that you fear people will get tired of your stories, and I know we are just your virtual world, but I cannot express in any written word that I, we, will NEVER grow tired. Most times I read your blog more than once. Because I care….because I too am a mommy of a little girl much like Jennifer…. because you have made me care that much more…thank you.

  2. Nicholas’ words…..they say kids and animals sense spirits more than adults because they are still innocent. I wonder if Jennifer was there, pink dress and all. I believe she sent the butterfly. I believe that our loved ones do send signs. Keep watching for them.

    People do care, a whole whole lot. People support you, and will support Unravel. You and your glitter squad will do big things for Jennifer, with Jennifer urging us on. Never doubt that.

    I personally will never get tired of seeing pictures and hearing stories. I feel like I know the little girl I never met, and am grateful. It reminds me of why I am now in this fight.

    Prayers and hugs, to all 6.

  3. I think she is there with you and family, sending butterflies, giving hugs, offering confort, walking with nicholas… wearing a beautiful pink girly dress, making smile baby Charlotte

    I believe she is there… like an angel, beautiful and eternal

    You tell us a different story about her every day, about her beautiful her kindness, about how amazing daugther and sissy she IS

    SHE IS THERE
    Thanks for sharing her with us , her glitter,
    thanks for sharing your beautiful JLK
    Lots of hugs from far away

    PS i will never ever will get tired of hearing and reading stories about her

  4. Today’s blog reminds me of this quote: Thinking about you always….

    The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory.

    Gary Zukav

  5. Libby, I’m so sorry I spoke out. Forgive me…you are amazing! Continued prays and hugs for you and your beautiful family.

  6. Absolutely LOVE the picture of JLK with the headband, jammies and butterfly. What a beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing all of your beautiful pictures and stories. Sending lots of love and prayers your way! XO

  7. Our kids are all of our hearts, no truer words could ever be spoken.

    While we do not know each other well and have only shared a brief hug, know I send love. We share a mothers heart and my wish for you and your family is joy within your life wherever and whenever you can find it.

  8. Oh, Libby. My heart hurts for you so much. I wish I could say or do something to ease the pain for you. I wish Jennifer was here, healthy and experiencing everything with her brothers and sister, mommy and daddy the way you so desperately want. I’m still here, sending love and reading every word you write. Continuing to pray for your family and Jennifer most of all. xoxo

  9. Jennifer is spectacular, I will never tire of hearing about your life together, everyday I am so touched by your words and her pictures. I pray for you and you family after I read everyday, I pray that God will help you to feel her by your side. She loves you all so much and wants to let your know she is there. My heart skipped a beat hearing Nicholas say she was with him in her pink dress with pockets and without wings. I hoped that it was true that children under 4 have an easier time seeing loved ones from Heaven. And I believe. A friend posted a poem that was very touching; I believe in the sun even when it does not shine, I believe in love even when I cannot see it, I believe in God, even when he is silent. She is always by your side and I bet baby Charlotte sees her also. She is the best big sister and will continue to be always.

  10. She was truly a special, special little girl. I will never get tired of hearing about her. I only interacted with her a few times, but I remember thinking how polite, sweet, and patient she was. And such a sweet friend to my Sadie. I have a picture of the two of them at preschool graduation if you would like it-it’s in this post:

    http://www.craftinessisnotoptional.com/2014/02/love4jlk.html

    She is forever a part of our lives now…I know she (and you) have impacted my life in a big way. I also love the stone idea-what a beautiful way to honor her.

  11. My heart aches for you in each post – I have never commented before as I also have a 6 year old and it really hits home with me. But today — today, you really struck my heartstrings. My tears are for you and your precious Jennifer…she is out there watching over you and her bothers and sister. Feel the love she had for you in your heart…you will always have that. And your pictures…I would be lost without mine, too! Treasure them. XO

  12. Libby I’ve said it before and Ill say it again, I’m here for the long haul I’ll never get tired of your stories and pictures just please don’t get tired of sharing them. Jennifer means alot to alot of us and her memories live on through you. I believe those butterflies you saw were sent to you from Jennifer, its her little ways of letting you know she’s there. Thank you for sharing your beautiful precious Angel. Big hugs and Angel kisses.

  13. Libby, I will never get tired of your stories. My heart is always thinking of you and your family, and your very precious girl. Please keep sharing, Jennifer has touched so many so incredibly deeply forever

  14. Thinking of you and remembering you wrangling Jonathan and Nicholas (one was in a stroller) and you dropping everything to video her doing a lap across Coach Ross’ pool….. Someone else watched Jonathan for you…. 🙂 <3 do you remember?

  15. Libby:

    I have read all of your posts and I have noticed a theme in all of the pictures you post- how much Jennifer was loved by you and the rest of your family. While her time was short, you showered her with so much love and happiness that it shows in her smile and her eyes.

  16. Your sweet Jennifer has captured a lot of hearts. Her stories and your memories will never get old. xoxo

  17. My heart hurts for you so much. I will never ever tire of hearing about your beautiful Jennifer. She is and will be in my heart forever. You and Jennifer have touched my life and my heart. I believe that she send you signs that she is there with you. I’m sure Jonathan and Nicholas feel her. I hope you do too. We love you Libby♡♡♡♡♡♡ LOVE4JLK♡ Forever 6♡

  18. I have been seeing a lot of butterflies around our neighborhood lately and it always makes me think of Jennifer. I miss her greatly and she is always in my daily thoughts and prayers. Even though I have never met her I hope when I go to heaven I can give her a big hug. I miss her so much for you and your family it hurts. It’s so hard to understand and seems so unfair.

  19. Still here. Still listening. Still loving your stories and pictures of a beautiful little girl that I never met but love because of your stories and pictures. I believe in angels and I believe that she is with you every day.

  20. Libby.I could never het tired of your stories and memories of jennifer.I am praying for ur famiy thru ur time of need. I love the truth in ur words and the love and bond u have with each of ur children esp. Jennifer…she is not forgotten.nor will she ever be. Ilove how u explain the butterfly and the shell to the children so they sissy is always there. I love u and ur family. Im ordering my head band by the way.ox

  21. The stones are wonderful. A tangible place to see/feel her. And the stories, which no one will ever tire of hearing, are another place to see/feel her.

  22. The greatest comfort comes from keeping them alive through our everyday lives. Weather it’s by picture or wishie or a yard stone. My moms house is covered in hummingbirds. My house is dragonflies, including a green dragonfly tattooed on my forearm. Any tangable thing is one more step in the right direction. I love that Jonathan has a necklace! Your a good mama Libby!

  23. Beautiful post… Beautiful family…Beautiful Jennifer. So full of love. Libby you are an amazing mother. Thank you for sharing.

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