Recipe for Life (Sedona Part 3 2013) Updated 2014

I wrote this last Christmas. Since I have writers block I decided to post this again tonight.

Subject: Recipe for life from SusanRecipe for Life… Our 2013 Christmas Dinner with Chef Lisa Dahl

After my beloved mother passed away, I found this poem tucked safely away in her drawer:
“A Recipe for Life”
2 heaping cups of patience
1 heart full of love
2 handfuls of generosity
1 headful of understanding
A dash of humor
Sprinkle generously with kindness
and plenty of faith
Mix well
Spread over a period of a life time
Serve to everyone you meet.
Author unknown
“Twas the Night before Christmas”, I passionately wrote about meeting the chef/owner Lisa (earlier than expected) at her at Dahl & Deluca restaurant in Sedona, AZ. I had surprised Darrell for an early Christmas Eve dinner. As planned last week, we were expecting to meet her during our Christmas dinner at her Cucina Rustica restaurant. I learned while making the original reservations that we have the loss of our only children/sons in common, both named Justin. As I mentioned yesterday, I was taken aback when she told me that she was going to open up a 4th restaurant in Sedona called “Mariposa” which means “butterfly” in Spanish. My baby Justin loved the color turquoise and his favorite (and the hardest) stroke in swimming was the butterfly.
As we all know, getting through the holidays was going to be a struggle including, getting past this first “Christmas Day” without Justin; which is why we could not follow our traditional schedule as we once knew it. It would just be too painful without him by our side. So, instead we had to change plans completely, and that meant being away from our family and friends whom we love so dear. I know that our pain is felt outside of our walls and our hearts. We know this ripple stretches across the waterways. It is unimaginable and hits the core of so many of our friends, Justin’s friends and those that he/we have not even met. Thanks go out to those who are walking by our sides.
I started out the morning by doing water aerobics. As I was moving in the water, I felt a bit a calm and peace come over me. Later, we went to get massages at a spa called “Eforea. Unbeknown to me, as we were checking in, I noticed that the spa logo was a turquoise butterfly. This is no joke!! Turquoise balls also graced the walls, and a lone raised embroidered turquoise butterfly decorated the robes and the signage throughout the space. The treatments were heavenly.

eforea copy
As we were driving back, I received a call from Lisa’s Assistant asking us if we had time, to go visit the resting place of Lisa’s son Justin. They all felt that we would find some peace and serenity there; which we did. The views were breathtaking. We looked out at the vistas which included sky high red-rock Mountains and desert landscape. A handsome picture of Justin graced his tombstone. As I read the inscription about this fine young Good Samaritan, my heart got heavy. We were silent as we honored him.
Later, upon arriving at Cucina Rustica, we were warmly greeted by the Host Ron who donned a festive red jacket. Ron is Lisa’s brother. He handed me a gift and an envelope and said that Lisa would be arriving soon, but he wanted to get us situated at our reserved table. We walked into this beautiful circular room which gave you the instant impression that you were travelling back in time through the old world rustic Italy. You could tell that Ron was visibly emotional as he could barely get the words out of his mouth as he said: “Welcome to our home, you are family; this is our “Justino Room.” You know what I did from there. I could barely breathe as he pulled the seat out for me to sit.
He then hands me an envelope. To our surprise, it was a gift card from our dear friends Merle, Jeff and Taylor. I was lost for words. We also learned later that my brother Greg and sister-in-law Delana send a gift card too. Then, Ron gives me yet another package. I opened it up and it was from our HW Friends Nasreen and Helen. It was a musical Santa that played tunes with an electrical guitar. Shortly after opening the gift, the one- man band sitting adjacent to our table began to play our wedding song “Pachelbel Canon” on the electrical guitar. Oh Lord, you know I tried fighting back the tears. With all of the noise going on around us, I don’t think that Darrell even heard it. But, I sure did. I listened without saying a word.


Then, the Chef of all Chefs’ Lisa Dahl came over to our table to make sure that we were ok. She hands me a copy of her book “ The Elixir of Life Cookbook”.

susanlisa copy

Her dedication page has a bird in flight with the words: “To Justin, until we dance again” The page reminded me of my son Justin’s last masterpiece that he created:” The Last words of the bird and the fish.” You know, my Justin and l also loved dancing in our kitchen, using the refrigerator as our mirror. I can’t wait to dance with my baby again…
In brief, Lisa’s Introduction in her book says: “I believe that all people have a natural ability to create beauty and pleasure, and that if we simply get out of our own way and follow our divine guidance, we will encounter our inner creativity as chefs, artists, musicians, or whatever medium excites us. My beloved son Justin is my inspiration. Justin is no longer living on the physical plane but is alive in another realm. I know this, because when I need him, I feel his all-knowing presence. He was, when he was alive, an earth angel. He loved to dance, like his mother, he adored music. Justin sends me forza (strength in Italian) every day because I need a daily dose. I will be Justin’s mom forever and will try to make him proud until the day we meet again.”
Inside, she wrote the following:
Dear Susan & Darrell,
May this book be a keepsake of our imminent friendship that has connected us beyond… “Our Justin’s” have surely brought us together. No one knows such sorrow as us, but their calling is out of our control. They want us to remain joyful in honor of them.
Merry Christmas 2013 and Blessings from Sedona,
Chef Linda Dahl
For those that know me, you know that my place in the kitchen and the grocery stores has been pretty much at a standstill since Justin left. I was known as Chef Susan or “Sarah Rawls” as some of my friends use to call me, cooking three hearty meals a day for my family was the norm. I also have a collection of about 200 cookbooks that have not been open either nor my oven turned on in 10 months. I guess I needed this inspiration.
Subsequently, we ordered our meal. Darrell had “ Filletto Justino ( Filet Mignon) no doubt. I had the organic roasted turkey and garnet yam soup.. It was delectable. Lisa came back to sit down and she begins to describes her son Justin to me. I grabbed her hand because she was also describing the main character traits of my Justin.
She said: ” Justin was a kind exceptional young being who did not want to cause trouble, who wanted to help others and keep the peace. I also knew from his early years that he had gifts, gave the best hugs, and was considerate, helpful and was not like most kids his age. He stood out. I also believe that he was taken early to set the example for others who still live on. He will continue to touch lives even though his physical presence on this earth as we know is gone. Both of our Justin’s gave their lives for in order to bring out the good in others. They were peacekeepers.” Need I say any more?

lisajustin copy

Since I was also curious to learn more about her new restaurant which is under construction called “Mariposa” I asked her more about it. She said that it will be an upscale Argentinian restaurant. Then, I asked her what the planned décor was. She began searching for a picture on her cell phone. She then shows us a photo of a shoe that she took a picture of in Las Vegas. The main colors in the shoe are turquoise, silver with a hint of red” She smiles at me and says. “It will have the same colors as the Peruvian Butterfly, with turquoise being the prominent color!”


bluebutterfly copy
The gift that Lisa gave me tonight during our “Christmas Dinner” was a new “Recipe for Life” that I need to try soon. In honor of my beautiful son Justin, I need to be joyful, creative, skillful, observant, and helpful. He would want me to be. I will sure try. As we got ready to leave, Lisa instructs the musician to play “Tears from Heaven” We held hands and listened, and we did not cry. Instead we had to smile for our Justin’s.

Tears In Heaven

“Tears In Heaven”

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?

I must be strong
And carry on,
‘Cause I know I don’t belong
Here in heaven.

Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven?

I’ll find my way
Through night and day,
‘Cause I know I just can’t stay
Here in heaven.

Time can bring you down,
Time can bend your knees.
Time can break your heart,
Have you begging please, begging please.

Beyond the door,
There’s peace I’m sure,
And I know there’ll be no more
Tears in heaven.

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?

I must be strong
And carry on,
‘Cause I know I don’t belong
Here in heaven.
Thank you to our secret Santa’s: Merle, Taylor, Jeff, Delana, Greg, Noreen and Thierry. Thank you, Rhonda (our travelling buddy) who also got the opportunity to share some of these incredible events with us.
Justin followed his grandmother’s Recipe for life and he was baked well through perfection.
For the moment I can honestly say that yesterday was a good day.

I can’t make this stuff up….

Love you Justin.



We went back to Eforea, we ate at Cucina Rustica in the Justino Room and we celebrated Justin the best way we could.  Darrell said hey they are playing your song again. As I listened the electric guitar was  playing our wedding song “Pachelbel Canon” on the electrical guitar AGAIN.. The tears flowed down my face.  I told Darrell: Do you remember me wanting to have a baby soon after we got married?  He cried and said yes.. “I said we brought Justin into this world and this is  one of are greatest gifts ever”.  Justin was with us as he will always be..

JCWWP_Logo_with_Butterfly_II_copy copy




Yesterday, you heard about our initial encounter with the wonderful team at the Butterfly Garden Inn. This morning I got the following message from the Owner Nichole:

“Dearest Susan,

As I sit here wiping the tears away, I am overwhelmed with a feeling of love and warmth. Meeting you yesterday was such a blessing. You and your husband are pillars of strength… You exemplify what loving parenting is all about. I am truly inspired by Justin’s story… What a gifted young man he was… A true angel. I know that you found your way to our little haven in the woods for a reason. Life is such a bizarre and magical journey. We have a butterfly lovescape in the center of our property where our guests can place a lovelock to commemorate their time with us. The locks have no keys, so they will remain on our butterfly forever. We would be honored if you would come back before you go so we can place a lock on our beautiful butterfly in Justin’s honor. We even have a turquoise one! Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with me. I will forever be touched…

With love,

Since I can’t make this stuff up, you know after I received this note, Darrell and I had to quickly make our way back up the hill.  Once we got there, we met Nichole’s cute and advanced young daughter, and husband Frank (the swimmer).  Frank was as tall as Justin -so you know I had to look up with a pause as I shook and held on to his hand.  We also met Mary,( her beloved Mother Linda’s best friend ), who made the trek cross county from Florida to spend the holiday with Nichole and her family.  This was their way to keep up the family tradition during holidays despite the loss they too hold deeply in their hearts.

A few minutes after giving us a plate of freshly baked cookies, Nichole handed me a “turquoise” lock.    She told us to think of a message and you know that was not hard to do.  Within minutes,  Frank carefully engraved the lock.


Nichole then  led us  out back to an open area  in the surrounds of the cabins and she said: “Place it wherever you like.”   She said she got the ideal from the Pont des Arts footbridge  in Paris, France where Love locks have created spontaneous “lovescapes” in cities and towns around the world. The idea is that you and your love attach a lock, often with names or initials written on it, onto a bridge. You throw the keys into the river or canal as a sign that your love is eternal, never to be undone.  She said that she met a local craftsman who made the butterfly trellis that supported the locks.

Butterfly Garden Inn Love Lock
Butterfly Garden Inn Love Lock

She also shared the depth of how they came to acquire such a lovely piece of property. Read the article:

As we said our goodbyes and headed out, I quickly remembered that Justin’s Aunt Caroline did a photo shoot near the lock she placed for Justin in Paris and his friends  Kovi and Autumn and my friend Kathy all sent us pictures last year that were posted when they were there on vacation.  I can make the quick trip to Arizona faster than I can to Paris so this is a good thing.

Justin's Auntie Caroline
Justin’s Auntie Caroline
Locks on the bridge in Paris
Locks on the bridge in Paris
JCWWP in Paris
JCWWP in Paris

These are all signs that my love for Justin is eternal and will never be undone.  My locks of love for him will always be held close to my heart.   I feel good this night before Christmas 2014.


***  I know from an aesthetic point of view Justin is probably rolling his eyes because I added the  luggage tag to the lock arrangement.  Nichole said I could do whatever I wanted.  So, Justin at least the tag matches the lock right???


Mom aka OTTO (Over the Top Olivia)

Some things never change…

JCWWP_Logo_with_Butterfly_II_copy copy



I wrote this in December 2013 and wanted to repost for 2014…

‘Twas the night before Christmas, I had to get out of the house
Because for months now not a creature was stirring, and now I’d take even a mouse

I could not hang any stockings up or put up a tree
Because, my baby Justin was not going to be there with me…
We had to go somewhere different to get away from the norm
And try to get through this holiday and just weather the storm
We came to a place that means beauty, strength, bliss and serenity
And I guess what happened tonight … is the only place we were supposed to be.

Earlier today, I could not find any words and was just hoping that the time would just go by quickly. I have had distractions, but my thoughts
and yearning for Justin are not far from my heart. I dread this new life that we have been given, and most days I don’t know what to do. But, I’m also trying to understand the
meaning behind why our angel Justin was selected to transition.
So far, I have somewhat managed to block the holiday spirit out with blinders on and earplugs in to protect my broken heart and feelings. I
still ask why our Justin was afflicted, his life cut short and why are we childless having to cope and carry on without him???
I know we are not alone, and that there as so many people who have suffered a child loss or the loss of a loved one. God Bless you all. Last week I made Christmas
dinner reservations at an Italian restaurant that I was guided to by faith. I found out that the owner Lisa lost her only
son tragically a few years ago. To my surprise, I also found out that her son’s name was Justin, and he was creative
and also a peace maker- just like mine. Unfortunately, he tragically died while helping someone else out. He like Justin
was a Good Samaritan and wanted peace.
Today, I decided to take Darrell out for an early dinner to one of Lisa’s other restaurants. Upon arriving, I asked the waiter was Lisa
coming there tonight, and he was not sure, but told us if she did come in, he would sure introduce us. As we were
leaving, this beautiful lady comes up to us and introduced herself as Lisa the
Owner. She did not know that we were the couple she had heard about last week. When I told her, she just hugged me and cried. She then told a few of the adjacent patrons
to come listen to the story about the phone call I made last week while looking
for a place to eat on Christmas day. I then reiterated the story about her other restaurant’s homepage having
turquoise (my sons favorite color) and silver ornaments, a note about honoring and remembering those who have passed on before us, and for peace on earth. I said that introduction was enough for
me. I told her I was floored when I learned of the unnatural demise of her only son. Furthermore, I was over the
top, trying to find some reasoning out all of all these coincidences.
For a few minutes, we just all hugged, cried and shared a few stories about our beloved young men.
I was holding this beautiful cell phone case that was designed by Michael, my favorite 7th grader who has similar passions of swimming and design like Justin. It depicts a turquoise butterfly with “World Peace for Justin Carr”.


When they noticed my cell phone case. Justin loved turquoise and that his favorite stroke in swimming was the butterfly.


Lisa then
grabs my hand tighter and says “I am building a new restaurant right up the street that will open in a few months; the name is “Mariposa”, which means
Butterfly in Spanish!” I was speechless, and of course I was done for the evening!! She then proceeded to tell me, that after she lost her only son
Justin, in time she was able to move forward and have him live through her. She then shared a poem that she
found that he wrote. One of the lines said “Love is the solution, we reap what we sow.” We embraced and then we had
to leave. It was too much. Our motherly eyes then met again and we agreed that we would catch up much more when we dine
at her main restaurant tomorrow for dinner…
Darrell always said “There is nothing like a picture!” Thank God we have thousands of memories of our precious son. I will dream about my
baby and know that all of the pictures that Darrell took of him will be frozen in time and every picture does tell a story. I love you Justin. I still miss
you more than words can ever say…. I found some words tonight.

‘Twas the night before Christmas I hope to have sweet dreams
about Justin, our butterfly…



Love, Mom

I can’t make this stuff up!!!

Peace be with you,


JCWWP_Logo_with_Butterfly_II_copy copy

Food For Thought (December 2013) Part 1

I wrote this last year  in 2013 and wanted to repost in 2014 because of the magical beauty in Sedona and I can’t make this stuff up…
Food For Thought  the Magic of Sedona
Christmas tradition was heavy on my mind this morning. Justin Carr Wants World Peace loved the holidays especially decorating the house, stringing the lights, wrapping the gifts and strategizing for the infamous “White Elephant Game.” It was well known that the Carr’s usually came home with the best gifts!



Months ago Darrell Carr
& I had already come to the realization that it would be just too painful to do what we usually do during the holidays and that was to celebrate with family and friends. It was always expected that prior to leaving town, we would have already disbursed the gifts to local family and friends; then on Christmas day we would either fly or drive to the North with the car or luggage packed to the hilt with gifts.

Then we were off to uncle Butch’s Burl Toler Jr. and aunt Susan Tamayo-Toler house. All the cousins would be dressed up in festive gear. Justin was so proud to be taller than all of his older cousins.. There would be appetizers, homemade eggnog, gumbo and then a table full of treats. Then, the kids would get their piles of gifts and tear open the wrappings and start to play with their toys. The adults would wake up with their full stomachs from their naps and begin the games. Justin was the director in most cases and would make the announcements for each activities. It was so fun…. And now must go down into the book of memories.


Today, I decided to make reservations for a Christmas dinner at an Italian Restaurant. The hostess on the phone told me to review the menu online. When I went to the website, the image of the ornaments startled me. There was a prominent turquoise/royal blue ball. Then, I began to read the letter to the customers as noted below:

“Dear Friends,
We at Cucina Rustica give thanks to have you here with us for Christmas Eve 2013. We realize that the most important quality of life is love. Every day we are alive is a gift from God to share with our family and friends. Let us all take one moment to be grateful for everything we are so fortunate to have. We acknowledge in silence all of our loved ones, no longer living on earth, but forever in our hearts. Let us all love our neighbors and pray for peace on earth!

Lisa and everyone at Cucina Grazie mille !”



I quickly picked up the phone, called back to the restaurant and cried as I tried to make the reservation for Christmas. The Hostess said, “Are you ok? I proceeded to tell her about our loss of Justin. I said” I guess it was meant to be that we dine at a place that had such a lovely headliner about the holidays to remember the lost loved ones as well as pray for peace on earth!” I then told her that Justin wanted world peace too.

The hostess then tells me the brief story about the owner, Lisa, and her horrific loss. Evidently, Lisa lost her only child; a son name Justin. He died while being a Good Samaritan helping someone else out. I sobbed and told the woman, OMG this is too much. She said “I believe that there is a reason for everything and I believes in spiritual connections.” I told her that Lisa and I were forced to be members of a “child loss” club that we did not want to sign up for…
She told me that she can’t wait to meet us and introduce us to Lisa; she said, “ I know already that you guys will be fast friends.”

I can’t believe that I picked the best place to feed our souls on Christmas. It had the markings of Justin all over it; just a thought.
****Set your clock and listen to this radio show coming up on Sunday, December 22, 2013 where we talk about Justin Carr World-Peace

I guess our angel will continue to watch over us. News Host Tammy Trujillo talked to us on the Angel network. The airdate of the show is Sunday December 22nd at 6 a.m. and 10p.m. The link is AM830KLAA.COM ,, or you can go onto click on Community Cares.

I can’t make this stuff up!! look at the image below from the restaurant. It’s real. There are not enough words to describe how I feel. Just pray for us and we will pray for you and peace on earth as well. Oh Justin… My Angel Baby..

JCWWP_Logo_with_Butterfly_II_copy copy


The Butterfly (INN) Me

Last night, as the background noise blurted from a nearby-unattended TV, one advertisement caught my ear. It made reference to a must see sight located somewhere near a “Butterfly Café.”

(Of course by now, everyone knows the significance of the Butterfly INN my/our life. In case you don’t know-read what I wrote last year.)

I immediately took to the Internet to find the location of this place. This little-known café was part of the Butterfly Garden Inn. This vacation spot included private cabins nestled in the heart of the canyons and clearly made it possible for guest to experience the mystery, healing and restorative powers of nature.

So, this morning I called to see if the café was open to non-guests. The woman on the other end said absolutely! My enquiring mind also wanted to know how the resort got its name. The woman politely said that the name was in honor of the co-owner’s beloved Mother.

Subsequently, we drove about 10 miles before we spotted “The Butterfly Garden Inn” sign. We stopped in front of a rustic southwest style porch that supported a stout antique red cocoa cola machine placed conveniently near at the Country Store entrance. Once inside, the gracious hostess (Denise) asked me if I was the one who called earlier and then she gave us mouth-watering descriptions of the menu items. We ordered our meals and took seats on the porch facing the creek and red rock mountains.



After delivering our beverages, Denise asked: “ What brings you to town?” With enduring love spilling from our mouths we told the cursory story of our life past with Justin and how we had to make the great escape to protect our hearts and minds during this most celebrated season. She empathetically told us how sorry she was for our lost.

We could not help telling her all about Justin and the things he liked including swimming. She gently smiled and told us that the co-owner Frank was also a competitive swimmer from Florida. (Not sure if you guys know but Justin learned how to swim when he was a baby in Florida). Darrell then chimed in that he noticed a series of cameras on display inside the reception area. Denise informed us that Frank was also a photographer. Darrell said: “I am too. I taught photography for many years.”


After our tasty meal came to an end, I went back into the store for more water. Denise looked up at me and asked: “How did we liked the meal?” With a tad bit of hesitation, she nodded and said: “ I know how you feel, I lost my eldest son Joshua 15 years ago. He is the first thought in my mind when I wake up each morning and the last thought in my mind when I go to bed each night He was an artist, dancer and a musician. He was a straight arrow and an old soul and he spoke with you with undivided attention.” I immediately stopped in my tracks looked at Denise and gave her a hug. I then asked her if she would share her story with Darrell. She kindly walked over to our table and retold Joshua’s story. We were speechless. She then said: “You know, our children are only on loan to us”. In the back of my mind, I thought to myself “That is exactly what Father Jay said to us during Justin’s celebration of his life…


Denise and Jenny of the Butterfly Inn


After she finished Darrell and Denise both exclaimed: ” Look there is a butterfly!!!- as a yellow butterfly flew between us. We marveled in its beauty before it left the porch.

As Denise continued to talk, from the corner of my eye, I noticed a young lady pass us to speak with a person in a car that pulled up on the property. I said to Denise: If that’s the owner, I would like to meet her.”

Minutes later Nicole, the co owner, came over and greeted us at our table. I told her how I found the Inn by chance, and how great the food was. I then asked her about how she came up with the name of her business. She said her mom was in hospice and the aftermath of her transition they gave her a stained glass butterfly to place on the door of her room. “The butterfly is significant in my life it has healing power” she said. Nicole politely excused herself and retreated back into the store. When she came out, she handed me a small pouch. Inside was a beautiful ornament created out of the remains of a fallen monarch butterfly? She said a local “Butterfly Lady” made it and she felt compelled to give it to me.


After embracing we walked towards the marquee to pose for a picture. I told Nicole that Justin loved the visual and performing arts. Nicole said that the lady she was speaking to prior to meeting us was a cast member in a play she directed. Nicole told us that she teaches theatre and directs most of the productions in the area and that her husband Frank is also a Set Designer. Once again I was flabbergasted. I said, Justin loved the theatre and set design and that he even had his SAG card! I could not believe it. As we posed for the picture I blurted out “Justin was just like a Renaissance man!” She looked at me and quickly said in amazement: “Wait, how did you come up with those words just now? Renaissance Man was the name of her husbands business for many years, he even has it on his license plate”… We had no words and just shook our heads. She said: “we were suppose to meet today!”




Darrell & Nicole
Darrell & Nicole



Nicole & Susan
Nicole & Susan

Once again Justin our Butterfly will continue to live with INN us…even at this random Butterfly Garden Inn and in the beauty of this church that is built in a mountain where we said a little prayer for Justin.


Going in this church was a big effort on my part.  No Words…

This occurrence did not happen in a week. It all happened in a matter of 24 hours.

My Butterfly Justin will always be with in us.  His spirit will live with me forever.  Like Denise said about her Joshua… Justin is the first thought  that comes to my mind every day when I wake up and the last thought every night  when I TRY and go to sleep…


*** As a side note I told Denise that they needed to modify their signage to include the word “Cafe” so that more people can stop and have a great meal… Better than most places in the main town.


This ALL Happened in One Week… Birds, Fish & Butterflies Everywhere

I wrote this in June 2013



This was another tough week, without Justin, but there were a few things that happened that made me wonder and smile about the power of transition…

I mentioned last week that I have a new friend Ruth whom I met in a Grief Support Group.  Even though she is 89 years old, she still feels the same as me about losing a child because she lost her daughter two months ago.   Since she lives far away from me, I introduced her to my friends Helen and Nasreen, whom live very close to her, just so she could have friends near by.

Last Thursday before our group started, Ruth handed me two small jewelry boxes with Japanese writing on the outside. One box had an origami like pendant of a fish and the other a bird.  They were made in Japan. She said she got them over 30 years ago when she was on a Photography trip in Hong Kong. I mentioned to Ruth that Justin’s last piece of art was a collage of words in the shapes of origami cut outs and he purposely left blank and cut out a shape of a fish and a bird (As Justin’s Art teacher told us shortly after he passed away).

Justin's Last Art piece of work "The Last Words with the Bird and the Fish"
Justin’s last  piece of art work “The Last Words with the Bird and the Fish”

So Ruth told me I could keep both of them.  That night I told Helen about the gift she was not going to get.   That night during the class, Ruth also took off the necklace that she was wearing, (it was years old with macramé, turquoise and bronze beads) and gave it to me because she said it matched my turquoise earrings that I was wearing.  I was embarrassed but she insisted that I take it.

The following Friday, I went to visit Justin’s Art Teacher Ms. Hall.  As soon as I walked in her house she said, “ Oh, I found the cut out of the bird and the fish from Justin’s original art.”  I immediately showed her what I got the night before from Ruth. We sat there in amazement.

On Father’s Day, Darrell and I went to visit Justin. After played the H-W Choir tribute to him  (Man in the Mirror) a beautiful butterfly landed on the flowers we had just placed for our baby.

butterflyjustingarden copy

In case you are wondering, Justin’s favorite swim stroke was the hardest and it was the butterfly.  The turquoise and brown have become Justin’s signature colors because he loved the colors blue and brown. We also released butterflies after Justin’s service at the church and at the cemetery…

Sophie's & Lori's Earrings, Ruths Necklace and pendant and Justin's art
Sophie’s & Lori’s Earrings, Ruths Necklace and pendant and Justin’s art

Wednesday, I met Justin’s friend Sophie and her Mom Lori for Tea. I showed them the fish and the birds and the necklace I had gotten from Ruth along with the cut outs from Ms. Hall.  Lori handed me a pink box and inside were a pair of beautiful bronze and turquoise earrings that matched the necklace from Ruth perfectly.  I started to cry and said OMG.  They knew nothing about my story of Ruth.

Today, Darrell and I went to visit Ruth. She wanted to meet Darrell so they could talk about Photography.  When I walked in she handed me a small Tiffany pouch and clearly said “ This is something for Helen since you got the bird and the fish, and “IT IS SURELY NOT FROM TIFFANY’S!” I just needed something to put it in.  When I looked inside it was a piece of costume jewelry in the shape of a butterfly. I said stop! Ruth said what is going on? I shook my head and said this is something.


When we returned home tonight, Nasreen sent me a picture of a beautiful butterfly that was resting on the shrubs in her yard.  It looked identical to the butterfly that Darrell and I saw on Sunday.  She said, as long as she has lived in her home, she has never seen such a butterfly.  It looked like the one we say on Sunday.  And I believe that it is possible that if flew from our house in the East all the way to the West side.

nasreenbutterfly copy

All of the attached pictures are real with no computer alterations done at all. Check them out and let me know what you think!!

Lastly, I just checked my email and my friend Donna sent me this earlier today:

It feels to me like so many messages from Justin.  He knows that you are vigilantly (sp) looking for signs and uncovering the clues.  He knows just how to communicate with his precious parents.  I wanted to understand the symbolism of the butterfly message and here is the result of my very first hit.  “Overwhelmingly, cultural myth and lore honor the butterfly as a symbol of transformation because of its impressive process of metamorphosis…Imagine the whole of your life changing to such an extreme you are unrecognizable at the end of the transformation. Mind you, this change takes place in a short span of about a month too (that’s how long the butterfly life cycle is). Herein lies the deepest symbolic lesson of the butterfly. He asks us to accept the changes in our lives as casually as he does. The butterfly unquestioningly embraces the chances of her environment and his body. This unwavering acceptance of her metamorphosis is also symbolic of faith. Here the butterfly beckons us to keep our faith as we undergo transitions in our lives. He understands that our toiling, fretting and anger are useless against the turning tides of nature – He asks us to recognize the same.” That is a message I am forwarding, with love, compassion and respect, from the universe.   Those are not my bolds.  Donna




**** Just a few weeks later I wrote this passage the day they came to film the CBS2 News Emmy Award Winning “Justin’s Story

“Butterfly Wings & Pretty Things”

I had to contact Agent Nikita (Mo) for assistance in making me camera ready for the tribute to our Justin Carr World-Peace. She secured the premises and directed me to the small
Hideaway where I was able to purchase poste haste a pretty top that would be in line with Justin Carr World-Peace signature turquoise and brown colors.





After my trip to the garden, Darell Carr and I pulled up at the house at the same time. He went in first. When I got to the front door I dropped my keys. When I picked them up I noticed a wing of a swallowtail butterfly on the door mat.

Butterfly Wing at my door
Butterfly Wing at my door

I called Darrell and said will you look at this!!! We were speechless…,
Then the crew came. The camera man introduced himself with an Australian accent. I said ” What did you say your name was? “He said “Justin”. I then had to walk back in the house. The reporter (whom I never
met ) came and she was donning a turquoise shirt. I did not say a word. During our discussion she said she did not want to wear black, she wanted to wear something bright and colorful. When I mentioned about Justin’s infamous colors, her mouth dropped. Then she told us that she use to swim in high school. I can’t make this stuff up.. I will let you know when the story will be playing on a TV near you in a few weeks. Enough said.. I have to go to bed. When I went to the garden, I did play ” the prayer” for my baby today. I guess he continues to watch over us and guide us with his grace. There are no words, except I love and miss you Justin my butterfly 24/7 — with Justin Carr World-Peace.

Keep us in your prayers as we make this unimaginable journey.

xoxo Susan & Darrell

JCWWP_Logo_with_Butterfly_II_copy copy