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)
i fear
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.)


  1. butterflies....

    glad you got a pic this year.

    reading this post makes me think of an idea. I know you are going to be less involved with the support group next year. Maybe after some 'time off' you could find some volunteer work with kids. Big sisters or parents as teachers or something of the like. I think it wuld do your heart good, and it is always nice to be connected to other generation. I have found joy in my job (I work with a lot of older volunteers) just through getting to talk to old folks. (just an idea for you to churn in your mind - spit out if you see fit!!)

  2. I hate missing my brain.

    I loved your sharing here & wanted to say something, but Lord knows what it was, now. :(

    God bless you. :)

  3. Good lawsy. I'm crying. Thank you for sharing :-)

  4. I love that poem. It sounds like a very special day for all the families involved.

  5. It's a beautiful poem and sounds like it was a perfect day. The connection you have made with those families is amazing.
    I agree with Ya Chun, eventhough I don't "know" you I think you would be an amazing Big Sister/Big Brother family for some child in need. Altough maybe you have your own plans for the future which wouldn't surprise me at all either.

  6. That is a beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing this with us.