Monday, June 15, 2009
Picnic: "I carry your heart with me"
Yesterday was our support group's annual picnic & memorial butterfly release. Dh & I look forward to this event every year -- a chance to see old friends and past & present clients, to spend some time in the comfortable company of other bereaved parents, and to bask in the remembrance of our much-loved and dearly missed babies.
Every year, there are more & more new babies -- and the babies from previous picnics just keep getting bigger & bigger. One friend recently had her THIRD subsequent baby (all boys) after the stillbirth of her daughter five years ago. The three little boys (ages 4, 2 & 6 months) were identically & adorably dressed in Gap Kids. Upon arrival, the dad plunked the baby into my arms, & he stayed there for a good chunk of the afternoon, not fussing much, mostly sleeping.
I loved it. I loved that these parents trusted me with their baby, that we understood exactly where each other was coming from, that I was free to be totally myself with them, and that I could just enjoy the experience without wondering what people were thinking, seeing me with an infant in my arms, that I was able to help them out while they chased after their other two little guys (!) and that the baby seemed to be comfortable with me.
Most families arrive with children and sometimes grandparents and extended family members in tow. One person (usually one of the parents or grandparents) will take pictures while the kids release their butterfly(s). Being that there's only two of us, dh & I usually just release our butterfly without capturing the event on film (or memory card, these days!). One friend, however, had forgotten her camera, so I offered to take photos of her family while they released their butterfly, and then she took photos of dh & me in return. : ) The photo I've used at the top of this post is of a butterfly that landed on her 11-year-old daughter's shoe, much to the girl's delight. (For some unknown reason this year, the butterflies we released were not "true" monarchs, but smaller, monarch-like ones -- must remember to ask why…)
Prior to opening our little triangular boxes, there is always a brief reading of a poem, sometimes related to butterflies, sometimes related to loss. As the speaker read the poem, her voice breaking with emotion voice, I bowed my head & squeezed dh's hand tightly and thought of our Katie, & of all the moms & dads & babies, at the picnic, at our group meetings, in my cyberlife, who have filled my life these past 11 years.
Here is the poem that was read:
i carry your heart with me
by e.e. cummings
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
(Last year's picnic post can be found here.)