'OK to cry; you are not alone': Butterfly release brings 'peace' to women

ASHLAND Mother’s Day will never be the same for a group of mothers all sharing a tragic loss of a child.

Just before the holiday for honoring mothers, a group of people in Central Park gathered for the 11th Annual Butterfly Release, during which mothers who have lost infants and toddlers banded together. They told their stories in remembrance of their baby boy or girl.

Bridgette J. Henry has organized the butterfly release for three years. With tears in her eyes, microphone in hand and voice trembling, she recalled an “indescribable” memory when she was 24 weeks pregnant and lost her son, Colton Allen Lewis.

“Nothing makes sense at the time,” Henry said. “Two years of my life was a blur. Instead of being wheelchaired out with a baby I was wheelchaired out with a blue box of memories.

“It’s OK to cry. You are not alone,” Henry added.

In a paper package were Monarch butterflies from Florida. Some flew as others were trying to get adjusted and “awake,” Henry said. As the winged insects went into the sky, faces lit up with smiles as they watched.

Mary Fields appeared at the event with what would have been Lilith’s older siblings to bring “peace” — filling a hole in her soul, she said. She stepped out of her “comfort zone” and told her story of losing Lilith.

“If you lose a child, you don’t have any inner peace,” Fields said. “You’re different from everybody else and you feel it. It’s something that you can’t describe and you don’t understand it until you go through it yourself.”

Fields was 30 weeks pregnant when she began having issues that prompted a visit to a hospital.

“They ran a bunch of tests,” Fields said. “I rested. I did everything I was supposed to do and, after hitting 30 weeks, the bleeding just got worse.

“I started having contractions and I had her right there in my in-laws’ bathroom,” Fields said. “She came out head first, hitting the floor.”

“When I left, I felt like my mission to finally make peace with Lilith’s death had been accomplished,” she wrote in a Facebook post later that evening.

Amanda Dent was 19 years old and “fresh out” of high school when she had found out she was pregnant. Her “precious” son, Adam Brantley, entered the world at 22 weeks and three days.

“He lived for two hours without any machines,” she said to the crowd.

“I have no memory of holding my baby; I was on so much pain medicine,” Dent said. “I left the hospital without my baby and had nothing but grief papers and a memory box. When I got home, I went into the nursery and called my mom to get everything out of there. I couldn’t look at it.

“To my sweet Adam Brantley, Mama loves you and misses you so much. You will always be my baby.”