This Saturday, Macy would be turning four years old. Every year we celebrate her birthday. We take off work and school, we place flowers and balloons at the cemetery, we go somewhere special with her sisters, and, of course, we sing to her before digging into birthday cake. It’s a lovely tradition, and though it may sound bittersweet, it’s usually more sweet and happy than any kind of bitter.

January is usually a sad month for me, leading up to her celebration. This year, surprisingly, I haven’t felt that overwhelming weight of grief that I have in previous years. I miss her, yes, and every day I wish she was here with us, but the grief, the grief has morphed into something I can’t quite define.

In the first two weeks after Macy died, I saw a yellow butterfly fluttering around her section of the cemetery. She is buried near my grandparents and in the twenty plus years I have been going there, I had never, ever seen a butterfly. Granted it’s been a long time since I had been there regularly—most of my previous trips had been with my Lola (grandma) to visit Lolo, and after she died, I rarely returned. However, on that bright February day, the yellow butterfly flew over around Macy’s site, then circled around us, only to return and land on one of her flowers. A sure sign.

Babies who pass away are often thought of as butterflies or angels by their parents. When I was still pregnant with Macy, I thought about how I would remember her. I plan one day to have a small butterfly tattooed in her honor, but haven’t found the right design (or courage) yet. I’ve seen some beautiful body art honoring loved ones, and I hope one day that I’ll be able to carry that slightly more tangible piece of Macy with me.

How do you remember your little one? Please share with us here or in our Memorial Gallery.


Melanie Tioleco-Cheng | JANUARY 23, 2013