Honoring the tiniest angels
A few days after losing her newborn baby boy on Mother's Day, a grieving mom found a note on his grave.
The note was from another mother whose child was buried in the children's section of Gresham's Forest Lawn Cemetery, and simply passed along the knowledge that she wasn't alone in her sadness.
Seventeen years later, that mother who was comforted by kind words has placed almost 550 butterflies around the children's section of Gresham's Forest Lawn Cemetery to honor her son and the other children buried there.
The mother, who wants to remain anonymous, said she was inspired reading about another mom that had done the same thing at a cemetery in Portland.
"This isn't about me," she said, "it's a way to show love without asking for sympathy."
Butterflies are considered a symbol of the human soul and life after death. They are sometimes released in ceremonies in cemeteries.
This mom gave birth to a boy on Mother's Day in 2003 and named him Noah. He lived only two hours. He is buried in Gresham, but the mom has since moved to La Grande and now has three other children.
"Every year since, Mother's Day has been a hard day for me," the mom, a pharmacy technician, said. "I have hidden away feeling sorrow every Mother's Day for the last 17 years and I have finally found something that will bring me joy by spreading love and letting other moms know they are not alone and their children will never be forgotten."
In placing the butterflies, she hopes "to extend love to all mothers with children in Heaven," she said.
"Any mother that has lost a child wants her child to be never forgotten," she explained.
"I am choosing to start this tradition at Forest Lawn in Gresham where my angel child Noah is buried in their angel garden," she said.
She has been planning this for about a year and has purchased various butterflies over time. Forest Lawn gave her permission for the tribute.
She placed three to four butterflies at each grave on Saturday, May 9, and kept them in place until Monday, May 11. She also hung metallic butterflies in the trees that sway and chime with the wind.
She plans on returning next year, making the butterfly tribute an annual occurrence. She wants to double the number placed in the cemetery.
Although she will always grieve for Noah, the mom said, "17 years is long enough. This is a way to turn that negative into a positive."
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