Butterfly Fund

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Eve before Christmas Eve

The Eve before Christmas Eve

Since losing our Butterfly Angel, Christmas has never been the same.

When our girls were little and even into the teen years, Christmas was always a magical time.

Sandra was mentally handicapped and had the wonder of a small child every year.

My Heather, she was the "normal"one, and was always just excited to find out the new things, and had the joy of someone who loved the Christmas lights and decorations.

We have never been a religious family. I personally suffered a major amount of abuse as a child, and a lot of that abuse centered around church activities. Church was a forced issue, and I still have a heavy amount of resentment towards organized religion.

I have always wondered about God. Is there a God? Is there a true person, Jesus Christ? If there is, I imagine that the celebration of his birthday in the Heavens is a true joy to behold. I truly hope that he does exist, so that my Angel will always have the joy of Christmas.

As the girls were growing, I always tried to support them in finding and going to the church of their choice. I made sure that they had rides and needed items. They both gravitated towards the Baptist religion, and that was fine with me. As long as their pastor accepted the fact that I had different beliefs. We only had one issue where I had to remove them from a specific church and an non accepting clergy.

When our Sandra left us, she was a member of the Fort Hope Baptist Church. She loved them, and they loved her. It has been almost three years now since our Sandra left, and on occasion, the church members still drop by to check on us. They are good people with good hearts. Part of The Butterfly Bonsai monies will go towards The Fort Hope Baptist Church camp fund, once we have finds to disperse.

Christmas 2010 - Sandra Ann Collins Neff
Christmas 2010
This is the first year that we have had a Christmas Tree since Sandra left. I have still not been able to go through our personal Christmas ornaments, so it is decorated with new butterflies, lights, and some new garland. Maybe in the coming years, I will actually be able to open the boxes that have our family ornaments in them. I just could not do that this year.

Christmas of 2010 was Sandra's last Christmas with us.

It was an exceptionally good Christmas, but bittersweet now, knowing that it was our last Christmas as a complete family.


I no longer make Christmas cookies for Santa. I no longer leave carrots out for the reindeer. I no longer mail letters to Santa. For many parents, these activities end when their child reaches puberty or an age close to that, but that was taken from me without any type of notice. Am I angry or jealous? Yes, most definitely. I do not begrudge anyone this joyous time, but I am ... Well, I no longer have that.

I reflect on Christmas. I still love the lights and the friendship. But I hurt inside. In the depths of my soul, where the deepest part of me has been ripped apart. I still have my Heather. She however has a new life of her own, and for the most part, I am no longer a part of that. Too much pain in our world. I love her. I always will. Unconditionally. She is a part of me, and I am so grateful to have brought her into this world. Someday, I hope she is able to forgive me.

To those of you who have never lost a child, you will never understand the pain that Angel mothers go through daily, let alone, the pain that we go through during any holiday. I pray that you never go through this pain. I would not wish this pain upon my worst enemy. But remember, we are out there among you. We have the smiles planted on our faces. We go through the motions. But always, our souls are ripped apart.