DeLanee's Story

10 years ago, Becky and Tommy, were blessed to be pregnant with their second child. Shortly thereafter they learned that they were going to be parents to a little girl, but the probability of their daughter living for very long was extremely low. Their daughter was diagnosed with a condition called Dandy-Walker Cyst. The doctors believed that their baby girl would deteriorate and pass away during pregnancy, but much to their surprise DeLanee developed until 28 weeks gestation when she was delivered and lived for three hours. As you can imagine, these 3 hours was precious time that they spent as a family with their daughter taking pictures, bathing, dressing and holding her until she passed away in their arms. Upon DeLanee's passing, the nurses brought the family a box to put their daughter’s belongings in to take home with them. Because DeLanee was born in January the nurses were able to find a leftover Christmas box. That Christmas box became extremely special to them and they clung to it and the contents inside that held their daughter’s precious belongings as they left the hospital without their baby. It was because of this box that the inspiration for Lanee’s Legacy began. . .

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Butterfly Babies (and Parents)

First of all, we need to announce the winner of our QT gift card and thank all of you who worked so hard to help launch Lanee. The recepient of our $50.00 QT gift card goes to:


Please keep referring your friends and family and get your tickets early. They are going fast, so make sure to grab them up soon!

We have been asked why we chose the butterfly to use as part of our logo and thought that we'd answer that question here. In general, the butterfly is a powerful reminder of change and transformation. It is a strong symbol of metamorphosis, with distinct stages. So, for obvious reasons the butterfly was chosen as part of our logo to represent these things.

But the butterfly has also been a part of DeLanee's story from the beginning. When DeLanee was born, her older brother Garrett was just 3 1/2 years old. He expressed a desire to be as involved as he could with what was happening with his baby sister and we were counseled to let him take the lead with this. So, we didn't pressure him to participate or do anything particular, but by his own account he was very involved with her. At her viewing he chose to bring a small little stuffed puppy to put in her casket - his puppy's name was "Sara". He didn't even think twice about leaving that stufed animal with her. He was so thoughtful to the little sister he had only spent a short time with here on earth. But, there is no doubt in my mind that the two of them had a very special relationship with each other before coming to earth.

Garrett did so good at her graveside by being as patient as possible while the talks and songs were being done. About halfway through though he started to get restless and he left his chair and started to roam and play nearby. It wasn't too long before we noticed that he was following and playing with a butterfly. Butterflies have a sense of lightness and joy and to see Garrett being so carefree and happy with his butterfly he had found was so sweet to me.

As a bereaved mother, I have found it healing to be able to link any memory or experience to my baby as possible. Which is why my Christmas box was so special to me - it contained every item that I had that was linked to her in some way. Anything that touched her skin was in that box. Any photographs I had of her was in that box. Any cards or ID tags that had her name written on it was in that box. Garrett's experience with the butterfly is another memory that I link to DeLanee and will continue to remind me of her whenever I see one.

When I first lost DeLanee, I asked the question "why me" many times. Why must I have to feel the pain of losing a child? Why do I have to be planning my daughter's graveside and burial? Why do I have to pick out a headstone? Why does my son have to continue to be an only child? Why do I have to learn to answer the question "how many kids do you have?". Why do I have to go through this adversity? The "why" question can go on and on.

But I wonder if the caterpillar ever asked the question: "Why must I suffer? Why cannot I simply, in the twinkling of an eye, become a butterfly?" It's the struggle to break out of the cocoon that develops the butterfly to be able to fly. Without that adversity the butterfly would never have the strength to achieve it's destiny. It would never develop the strength to become something extraordinary. As with the butterfly, adversity is necessary to build character in people. When we are given these really hard trials, I think it's important to remember that it is the adversity that is shaping us into who we are. The trials that we experience are a temporary chrysalis that if we can only endure we can become as the butterfly - free to grow, change and become something beautiful.

When we were choosing the name for this organization, one that we contemplated was "butterfly babies" to represent the change and transformation that our babies go through as they pass from this life to the next. I believe that DeLanee did go through a big change when she passed and when I think of her now I think of somone who is beautiful, full of joy and happiness. I feel that the struggles she had while I carried her and during her short time here on earth she no longer has to deal with. I am proud of her for the mission that she was willing to accept and the change that occurred not only in her but for me as well. I am thankful for the trials and adversities that have been sent my way that cause me to struggle, grow and transform. I don't think that I am quite like a "beautiful butterfly" yet - maybe more like a moth, but I do know that it is through our challenges that we can become as beautiful as the butterfly.


The Shiflet Family said...

Wow, Becky! Well said! What a beautiful thought!

Betts Family said...

My Mom told me about your amazing project here and I am so amazed at the beauty and selflessness you have shared by creating something like this. Best wishes and although I'm in Washington I will spread the word any way possible. Good Luck.

{Mullins} said...

such a sweet story out of a sad situation. i have a little delaney myself and although you're starting to heal, my heart aches for you. may God continue to bless your sweet family. xo