Early in the morning on June 25th, 2019, our perfectly wonderful baby boy was born sleeping. Jude Thomas was and is a gift that we will continue to celebrate, even though we wish with broken hearts he could have stayed in our arms forever, and not just those fleeting moments.
A few weeks prior to that day where our lives were forever split into a before and after, I took my mom and Jude’s big sister Emme to a local butterfly show. As I rested on a wall, a giant brilliant blue butterfly (a blue morpho) landed on my pregnant belly and covered me with his iridescent wings. Later, looking at the photo, I realized his wings were battered and torn, but that made him all the more beautiful to me.
That photo was the last one I posted on social media before we said the hardest hello to our Jude, and for some reason we decided to include butterflies on his service details and program. After that day, the day where we both rejoiced in his name and mourned him, butterflies began showing themselves to us. We know winged creatures are often seen as messengers from loved ones gone on before us, and this was no exception. We saw them everywhere- when I walked into my grief counselor’s office for my first visit, decorating the branches of a ficus tree gifted to us, dancing around my car when I first visited the cemetery again, on the football field after a particularly hard practice for Kyle, in new song lyrics from our favorite artists, in a scene during Emme’s favorite tv show. And it wasn’t just us- friends and family from all over the U.S. noticed those gossamer wings flitting around their gardens, their pets, landing on their children, featured on the pages of their favorite picture books. Jude’s name has been said over and over, engraved in hearts that will help us carry him and his story. Thank you for becoming a part of that story.