Monday, June 7, 2010


This is such a cool story, and I feel like I just have to share it with you guys today.

Shortly after we lost Olivia, I received a sympathy card in the mail from one of the girls at work.  The card had a dragonfly on the front, and in it she wrote me a sweet note, explaining the waterbug/dragonfly story. I had never heard it before, so I got out my computer and googled it.

In short, two waterbugs are swimming in a pool. One of the waterbugs climbs up a lily stalk, and promises to come back and tell the other one what it's like up above. What the little bugs don't know, is that once you leave the water, you turn into a dragonfly and can't return. Even if the dragonfly could return to the colony of waterbugs, they wouldn't recognize her in her new body. The dragonfly realizes that she has transformed, and lives happily flying around with her new wings, knowing that her family will understand someday when they, too become dragonflies. It's kind of cheesy depending on which version of it you read, but I still think it's a sweet way to explain a baby who leaves its parents to go to heaven, and gets her (or his) angel wings, instead of being able to come back to her (or his) family.

The link to the story is here.

Anyway, I shared the story with my mom, and so did a friend of hers who lost her son this winter. My mom and dad's first daughter, Katie, was stillborn in April of 1986 when my mom was about 37 weeks pregnant.  I was born just a little over a year later. Our loss of Olivia was especially hard on my mom because while she's been grieving the loss of her first grandchild and having to watch Kurt and I go through so much pain, it's also brought back a lot of the feelings and memories from when they lost Katie.

On Memorial Day, my mom and sister went to the cemetary in Iowa where Katie is buried.  Originally, I had thought about placing Olivia next to Katie, but the cemetary is an extremely old one and there aren't any plots left. Anyway, mom loves the dragonfly story and we have talked about it more than once.

Mom was having a particularly tough time that day - she told me that she did a LOT of crying at the cemetary. While she was sitting there, she saw a dragonfly flying around a short distance away. She said it immediately made her feel a little bit better, and she was just excited to see it flying around.

Then, she and my sister watched it make circles above Katie's grave. It landed in the blade of grass that was exactly above the center of her gravestone, so that when it landed, the blade of grass bent forward and he was directly above her marker. After that, he landed on the stand for the wreath that they were about to place on her grave.

I don't know if ya'll believe in signs, but our family definitely  does. Mom said she was already crying, but then when the dragonfly came along she knew it was a sign from Katie to help her feel better. It made her cry more, but in a happy way... She texted me the short version of this story while we were in San Diego, and I could tell how excited she was about it.

I love this story - mostly because I really, honestly believe that my sister was sending my mom something to comfort her, but also because it's been 24 years since Katie passed away, and my mom still loves her just as much and cries for her the same way she used to. She doesn't cry or get upset very often - but she still does. One of the biggest fears I have (and one that I know a lot of my fellow infant loss mamas worry about too), is that I will someday have more children and that they'll take over Olivia's place in our family unintentionally... or that I won't remember her the way I do now. Talking with my mom about Katie always helps reassure me that that won't happen.

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Donna said...

Interesting...I have a friend who lost a nephew and their family started to see white feathers in strange places after he went to heaven. I this happened over and over again in the most unsually poignant times and places...
what a neat story!!! I will tell her to read this post,,,thanks!

Lara + Chris said...

Oh wow! How cool!

I can't imagine what it's like for your parents to not only see you go through this pain, but know it intimately because they've been there themselves. They must be very strong, loving, and supportive people.

Olivia will always be your first little girl!

Jen said...

Thanks for sharing this, The dragonfly book is the one that the grief councilor read to and gave to my two little boys the day that their sister was stillborn. I love that you got a card with one. Glad I found your blog (came from Heather's)

Stephanie said...

That is such a sweet story! Thank you for sharing it. We totally believe in signs too. I woke up again last night to 4:21 am. I've begun to love that time. :)

Kristin said...

Wow. Thank you for this post. My mom lost her first daughter about a year and a half before I was born, too. She was 41 weeks along. I lost my first daughter 8 weeks ago (at 26 weeks) and my loss, too, has helped her to heal and find some closure from her own tragedy (she was NOT encouraged to openly grieve her baby 27 years ago...). I look forward to reading your blog and learning all about Olivia.

Much love!


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