May 14, was Butterfly Release Day. I knew I would be missing this special day. It's one of the loveliest days of the year at Silverado. Family members and residents gather in the garden to release live butterflies in memory of the loved ones who have passed in recent months and years.
When the Quilt Group got together last week, we put together a butterfly mobile to help decorate the garden on the release day.
We used photos from our quilt gatherings to decorate each paper butterfly. It wasn't until we completed the mobile that I realized how many folks have been part of our gathering group. Each face on every butterfly helped us celebrate the friends we enjoy now, as well as the friends who have moved away or passed away. It was a nice time to be reminded of the friends I miss from these past 2 .5 years of the Quilt Group.
Molly was one of the first regulars to the group. She was always eager to participate. She loved talking about her cat and memories of growing up in the Houston area. Here she is playing a wooden slit drum on Africa Day. She loved music!
Ruth's dog, Chris came to all our meetings. He sat on her lap while Ruth looked through books and joined in discussions. She loved hearing stories and always clapped at the end.
"Charlotte often resisted invitations to join the group. "What is the purpose?" She would ask with her German accent. But she always came along when reminded there would be BOOKS!
Books weren't the only thing Charlotte was enthused about. She might laugh or frown at some of the silly games or props, but she was always first to try out a funny piece of costume or fiddle with an instrument!
Pat was a very special addition to our group. She was always game to try on a festive hat or join in some of our silly songs, but Pat was also my mother's roommate. Pat and my mom would often sit next to each other when we gathered around the quilt to share stories and conversation.
It was a comfort for me knowing my mom had the "sister" she always wanted. There was friend to share meals with, to share a room with... and in the Quilt Group, now and then I would notice one or the other reaching out to hold the other's hand.
What I learned:
I may have missed the actual Butterfly Release, but I got to experience the Quilt Group Friends "remembering". When we held up the completed mobile, there was no sadness. There was delight, as different faces were recognized on the butterflies. Some did remember faces of friends who had passed. And some were just pleased to see the faces of current friends. We all "remember in our own way.
For 20+ years children have called it the Magic Quilt. They've danced and pretended all over these colorful squares. I've dragged it to schools, shelters and studios where children have climbed on top to hear Magic Quilt Stories and to act them out.