September 8, 2010

The Flight of the Butterfly

It has been a hard road since Sebastien’s death on August 14th but each week it’s getting better. It’ll never be okay but life must go on so you do what you can to move forward.

We received his autopsy report back this week. Most parents begin to know their baby after birth, but the only way we can know our baby is through his few hours of life and a detailed description of various body parts in an autopsy report. But even those details, morbid or not, make up the whole of who he was as a unique little baby, details which every parent covets when it’s their own child.

When someone dies (or even a pet) we all have a tendency to seek things we can hold onto. My husband and I decided we would each get a tattoo, something to remind us of him, a permanent mark to show that he existed. What tattoo to get is another question? We thought of angels, crosses, his name, a heart, and everything else. Nothing seemed exactly right.

Today, I was sitting outside reading a novel, The Sound of Butterflies. For the past week, we’ve seen many butterflies. We went to the lake for a few hours. The wind was quite harsh that day and small white butterflies flew down the shore bobbing up and down in the breeze. At a festival this past weekend, we passed a craft booth that sold frames with real butterflies pinned inside. (They claimed no butterflies were killed and they died naturally. Whether that’s true, I do not know and I don’t believe in having art or wall hangings of dead animals.) But they were beautiful and I saw a few butterflies which were described in the novel I am reading.

As I was sitting outside today, I saw the white butterflies again and I remembered reading somewhere when you see a butterfly someone who has died is coming to see you. I looked on the internet and it says that ancient Greeks considered butterflies as the souls of those who had passed away. There are many references to different meanings but it also means rebirth.

I guess sometimes you just have to look around to see what life is telling you. So I found my perfect tattoo, a butterfly. Although I don’t necessarily believe they are souls, I would like to believe they could be and that one of those souls fluttering by would be Sebastien: free, happy and basking in the sunlight. Butterflies also signify rebirth and if there is anything I could want for my son is that he has some kind of rebirth one day, so he can experience life and maybe, see a beautiful butterfly of his own.