Have you ever thought to yourself “I want to be just like them”? I bet at some point in everyone’s life they wished they were more like someone or something they admired. All my life I have been fascinated by four leaf clovers. Not because I am trying to claim my very distant, thinned out Irish heritage; I’m a mutt and I embrace my mixture of heritages. It is because in a patch of clovers you may find one with four leaves. They are unique amid thousands of others that grew from the same earth that the others in the patch did. The occurrence rate is 1 in 10,000. When I was gifted with a child who was about 1 in 100,000, I had found my four leaf clover in life. I felt great fortune to be sharing my existence with such a beautiful and rare bird. Much like the phoenix bird my son was named after, the clover symbol has a similar meaning associated with it to those who value its uniqueness. The leaves stand for hope, faith, love, and luck. I seem to find four leaf clovers when I am trying to clear my mind when seeking answers.
Upon hearing of the passing of our son Pheonix, my friend and fellow face painter Kirstene of Art Me a Traveling Paint & Party Studio reached out to my husband to have something special made as a remembrance for Pheonix. She knows someone who makes special charms from flowers. He immediately thought of the clover I gave to Pheonix on the day he returned from being away in Peru. Pheonix had begun to struggle with his health while my husband was away. The day I picked him up from the airport, I was worried that he would see Pheonix weak from the seizure activity and increase in anti-seizure medication. I did not want him to see him that way. I stepped out of my car full of anxiety over what state Pheonix might be in. I looked down and standing out amidst hundreds of clovers, was one tall four leaf clover. I picked it and felt a rush of relief that everything was going to be okay. I put the clover in Pheonix’s hand and told him daddy was home. He looked toward the door as my husband walked in. Pheonix opened his eyes wide and had the sweetest grin on his face as he raised his arms to greet him. He laid in his dad’s arms and I knew Pheonix had been waiting for him to come home. After Pheonix was let free of his body, I realized the clover I found was not a sign that Pheonix’s health was going to miraculously change, but that he was not here on this earth to suffer and he was not allowed to suffer. His purpose in this life was to touch hearts and change minds through his triumphs and incredible spirit. The limitations of his body were increasing to the point that it was rendering Pheonix only able to exist, not to live. The doctor said it was good that Pheonix passed peacefully in his sleep because it could have been a much worse situation. Because he had lived most of his life really pushing past the limitations of his condition, we had a difficult time processing why he was gone. The reality of possibly watching him deteriorate more and more, likely surrounded by doctors and machines, and possibly being forced to make a terrible decision, hit us when the doctor reminded us that Pheonix had a severe medical condition. We knew that, but had pushed it to the back of our minds in order to allow Pheonix to live like all other children. We were lucky. Lucky that we did not have to watch our beloved son struggle to open his eyes for months or more, lucky to have had 14 adventure filled years, lucky to have been part of and positively impacted by a truly exceptional existence, and lucky that we will carry with us every smile because Pheonix’s energy was passed to every heart he touched. We are stronger and better because he was part of our lives. I cannot wish for more because we could have had so much less and many do. I am thankful to my husband, my friend Kirstene, and Sentimental Petal for preserving my four leaf clover so I may look at it and smile, knowing that I can believe it will all be okay. Even if things are not exactly how we think they should be, we need to have faith that it will be how it needs to be, love with all our heart accepting the impermanence of life, hope that we are doing all we can to positively impact this world, and feel fortunate for experiencing the simple beauty of life.