Sunday, October 3, 2010


The alarm clock radio came on... half awake and ignoring the radio announcer commercials, I rolled over to hit the snooze button, when somehow, my ear caught mention of "Wings". A word so powerful and special to me, the name of the BJC Pediatric Hospice Program, the organization that helped us learn how to take care of and say goodbye to Ryan. I made a mental note to look it up, hearing mention of butterflies, and St. Louis artists. I hit the snooze button, and fell back asleep. Then, when I woke, I remembered, immediately, that I needed to investigate what this announcement on the radio was all about. Thankful for technology at this moment, I plopped on the couch with my laptop, sure that what I had vaguely heard was more a dream now than a reality. As the results came up, I clicked on the first heading. Sure enough, it was real.

Wings was having 54 fiberglass butterflies created, and then soliciting artists from the St. Louis area to submit designs for the butterflies. Mary Engelbreit would be the featured artist, and when the butterflies were finished with display across St. Louis, they would be auctioned off to raise money for the "Expressive Therapy Program" for Wings, something Charlotte participated in while Ryan was sick. Immediately, two very talented artists in my life came to mind. I had to act fast though, there was only about 2 weeks before the final design submissions would be accepted.

I asked my co-worker, Karen Gold, in the Perinatal Center at St. John's. I had seen much of her talent in stained glass pieces she had created. Her artsy eye very crafty and beautiful, her hands delicately creating beauty with glass. I knew she would submit a beautiful, heartfelt design, and most importantly, I asked her to do it in honor of Ryan. Thankful she accepted, I fully believed she would be chosen.

I also asked one of our dear friends who used to live across the street from us, Nancy Forth. Nancy and her family became fast friends of ours when we moved into our house. Many afternoons, I would see her outside painting, and I had seen several pieces of art she had created in their home. We have shared meals together, celebrated holidays together, and just enjoyed each other's company over a board game or playtime outside. Nancy has always been a mother and woman I admire, she is genuine, loving, and above all, has been there to support Chris, Charlotte, Ryan and I every step of our bumpy little path. I was very pleased that she also accepted the request to submit a design in honor of Ryan.

Both of these talented artists designs were accepted by the panel of judges, and we were ecstatic. What a dream come true for us and them! They had from May until September this summer to create their masterpieces, and I am very proud to say that these women did a remarkable job creating such beautiful representations of our love for our son. But, it is more than that, it is for other children also, other families who have had children who are sick, or had to let a little loved one rise to heaven. Those angels are among us, watching us, waiting patiently for the day they can share their precious lives with us again.

Pictures of these butterflies don't do them justice, so the main reason for this post is to inform you of how you can see them in person! THIS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 10TH AT FOREST PARK IN THE WORLD'S FAIR PAVILION from 11 am - 4 pm, you can see them in person for yourself. "Wing's" is a remarkable organization, come have some fun, and see what St. Louis can do for the families who need them!

"Reflections of Love"
Artist Karen Gold

Karen's butterfly was jointly named by the two of us, reflecting the love that all parents have for their children. The butterfly is done in mosaic glass, each piece hand cut and intricately placed. Karen did a remarkable job creating whimsy and a playful feel with this butterfly; the innocence of children. She wanted it to be cheerful and bright. I love the colors she chose and there are also angel glass pieces scattered on the butterfly. Thank you Karen, for helping us always remember the playful moments we had with Ryan.

"Heaven Bound"
Artist Nancy Forth

Nancy chose to create "Heaven Bound" with an airbrushing technique, to mimic the beautiful July sky the afternoon of Ryan's funeral. To some, this may not seem like a joyous day, but for us, it was truly bittersweet. The bitter side is easy to understand, but the sweetness was knowing that our son was with his Creator, no longer in pain, suffering through each breathe his little body depended on to stay alive. We knew that Ryan was again whole and free of the disease that had crippled his tiny body. Nancy understood this relief, this joy, and understood that the beautiful puffy clouds in the sky were probably just a fraction of the beauty that Ryan was now enjoying. Thank you Nancy, for helping us capture the joy in those difficult moments, forever.

A picture of the sky the afternoon of Ryan's funeral, July 31, 2009.

Thank you, Karen and Nancy, for your hard work this summer. For taking time away from other activities in your lives to create something so special to our family.
The Hawns


Anonymous said...

What fantastic representations! Jen, you picked two great artists who came up with wonderful butterflies. Each one has a special significance about it.

Elizabeth said...

Oh, that is just awesome! I love both of those finished designs. Butterflies hold a special place in my heart too, so I'd love to see all of that art in person!

What great friends you have.

Zehr_Family said...

Wish I could see them all in person,but it was not meant to be. I have always loved butterflies and the two creations you have shown are some of the best I have ever seen. You are truly Blessed to have two great and talented friends to do these for you and for Wings!! God Bless both women and you and your family.