It took us two years and four months to name her, to have the collective strength to honor her in a formal way, to honor each other and what we had been through. The pain was too much. Some days it still is but most days I feel such gratitude for her, for the gifts her life is for me, for who I’ve become because she existed. We held a ceremony for her at a favorite place in the forest, near where we live. We played a ‘Song for the Angels’ by the Great Lake Swimmers and we spoke words from our hearts, as we lit candles for her and the 3 miscarriages we had. We tied 4 butterflies in the trees on a much loved trail and it has become a sacred place for both of us, as we pass through it frequently…on dog walks, bike rides, and with our friends and family.
We named her Summer for the glorious season she was with us and for all the natural beauty we see her in. Summer lived 18 weeks and 2 days and we knew she wouldn’t survive to full term. Near the end of her life, I saw butterflies around me everywhere, in places I hadn’t seen them before. I felt comforted by them, as if they were there for me. The idea of her transformation into some semblance of beautiful freedom, like a butterfly, soothed me. Years later I realized that the journey of transformation was also mine. As a part of the process of becoming a butterfly, the caterpillar itself disintegrates or is liquefied. Learning that, and identifying with the feeling of having lost my sense of self, gave me hope for my future. My story doesn’t end with Summer or our other losses, but it continues, enriched by their existence, by my own process of becoming and by what I learn and share with others.
Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first that sun more last than star
– ee cummings