Memorial ready to fly
Sarah Field had 56 hours with her daughter and she spent them making memories.
In 2013, the Porirua woman became a mother to Lilly, born at 22 weeks, and although their time together was brief she made it last.
‘‘I looked at her, I held her, I had casts done, hand prints and footprints. Once you drop her at the morgue she’s gone forever so those memories are all you have.’’
Four years later, wearing the casts of Lilly’s tiny feet on a chain around her neck, Field is helping other parents make memories of children they lost. She has organised the Butterfly Walkway a pathway of brightly coloured mosaics and plaques representing a butterfly’s journey - to be installed beside Porirua’s Aotea Lagoon and playground.
‘‘It’s remembering our children among children. As a bereaved parent you grieve everywhere, you don’t need to go to a graveyard.’’
Field said she had modelled the walkway on a similar memorial in Nelson, where she made a plaque for Lilly.
‘‘It’s a way for parents to make another memory and involve other children or family -
in doing that. They often go on to have other children and it’s a place they can go and have fun and remember the one who has passed.’’
Since she announced the project 10 days ago, inquiries had flooded in and almost all the 114 places were full.
SANDS NZ chairperson Joan Curle said the loss of a baby was the loss of a lifetime of memories and memorials like the But- terfly Walkway were important for grieving parents.
‘‘To be able to display your baby’s name and for your family to go along is a beautiful thing.’’
Porirua City Council parks manager Olivia Dovey said the council was very supportive of the memorial, which had been designed to fit into the new Aotea Lagoon Splash Pad.
She hoped construction would begin this winter.
Sarah Field has created a Give A Little page to help subsidise the cost of the plaques. Donations can be made at givealittle.co.nz/cause/ butterflywalkwayporirua
Sarah Field lays a plaque for her daughter Lilly in Nelson’s memorial pathway. She is now organising a similar Butterfly Walkway for parents who have lost a child at Porirua’s Aotea Lagoon.