Friday, March 13, 2009


I have thinking a lot about what to have engraved on Charlotte's headstone. I wanted it meaningful, beautiful, and not too cheesy. I had looked through pictures online of headstones for ideas, at hand drawn pictures of flowers, even at tattoo sites. Putting an image on Charlotte's headstone is my tattoo. Except it will last longer and won't stretch wildly or melt and collapse on itself in the coming years as I continue to age and turn to goo.
I had thought a little simple sprig of flowers would be cute, or a branch with flowers, maybe a bird. But it wasn't meaningful. Zar suggested a pair of glasses, her favorite toy, but I think it would be confusing and look silly. Yesterday I was laying on my stomach pulling books out from under my bed, and pulled out a little book by Carol Lynn Pearson, who I deeply admire--called "Consider the Butterfly."
So I did. I thought about it, and this morning I went into Charlotte's room to turn off the princess nightlight I switch on every night, and saw the above picture in a frame on her wall, right in the middle of a group of 9 pictures chronicling her life. The last space is still blank where I meant to put a picture of her and Ella, but haven't yet.
So I thought about the butterfly more.
Today at work, I was thinking about the book, and thinking about Carol Lynn Pearson, and how we have had some similar experiences in our lives, particularly that she lost a daughter to brain cancer 8 or so years ago. And here I've lost a daughter too. So I went to her website, to see what she's up to.
I found this quote:
"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly."
-Richard Bach
And I learned that in Greek, which Charlotte's uncle Jakey speaks every day to give people the hope and light and joy of the gospel, the word for "butterfly" and "soul" is the same. And I learned that a caterpillar actually changes it's DNA when it enters the chrysalis--changes it's DNA! Like my Charlotte, who's DNA was built with multiple errors, and missteps, and deletions...and now is perfect.
And now, sitting here typing this, I glance up and see the monarch butterfly made of feathers that was part of the first bouquet we received after Charlotte passed away from Zar's aunt Linda and cousin Katie. They came to see her in the hospital just an hour or so after she had gone. The butterfly is now on my mantle, hovering in a vase. And I recall the pink butterfly the nurses hung outside Charlotte's hospital room after she had gone, to let others know of our loss, so they would be considerate, and quiet, and not come barging in with a mop. So they would know that she had flown.
So, I haven't discussed it with my husband, but right now, I'm really considering the butterfly.

7 comments:

Lacey said...

I think a butterfly would be beautiful. Is that a real butterfly that landed on her nose?

Becky said...

Beautiful my friend. I think it's PERFECT! Thanks for you visit today...it did my soul some good.

Erin said...

Lacey, um, not exactly...we found it mostly dead on the side of the road and it's last request was to do a photo shoot with Charlotte. I was glad to oblige.

Shannon said...

Awesome Erin- I think it is perfect! It gave me chills- reading about all of the different meanings for Charlotte. Love it.

Michelle said...

It sounds perfect, beautiful, with meaning, and without the cheese. I think Charlotte will love it :)

Amanda said...

I mirror what people have already said, it is perfect. Absolutely perfect. And I think Zar will think that too. You amaze me. Every single day.

Alex Drake said...

I think that a butterfly is a great decision. She would have loved it. Its amazing how things like that work out.