Martin Alexander Seibold
8-20-82 ~ 5-20-02
We were his legs and his eyes,he is our heart.
Butterflies can’t walk
The little butterfly touched down on earth on August, 20th., 1982. God had sent him into a little village inGermany. His parents called him Martin. They liked this name and they knew a little boy in the neighborhood whose name was Martin and who was a nice little fellow. Martin’s middle name was Alexander, they wanted him to be big and strong.
But Martin was not strong. He was a nice little guy but not strong.
He had a long way to go on earth. He could not walk, he could only crawl a few steps. He exhausted quickly and he was glad to make it to the next chair. There he tried to stand up. He looked around with his beautiful dark eyes and saw things he could not understand. Sometimes people stopped in front of him. They were curious about this little guy and they felt compassion.
They did not know that he was a butterfly.
He had to go his long and winding road, accompanied by a lot of people, his parents, his little brother, his grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, teachers, fellow-students. They all helped him to procede on his way. Carried on his father’s back, pulled thru the pool by his mom, his stroller being pushed by his grandma, aunt had him on her horse, uncle on his bike. Thus he went on.
The way he had to walk was easy only in the beginning. After a few weeks it started getting more difficult. He encountered people in white dresses.
They said: „Oh my god, why do you have those little feet. And how come you can not walk. Let us see how we can help you to walk.“
And they slit open his little legs and put him in a cast for a number of weeks. Now he could not walk at all, and he could not crawl either.
The way was becoming more stony. It became a little more difficult for his friends to carry him, to push his stroller.
He met many people. Most of them made friends with him right away. They were so delighted to see him. He looked so small and fragile. Everybody wanted to help him. They helped carrying him, pushing his stroller, sometimes it was enough to hold the car to prevent it from rolling downhill.
What he liked most was his little red bobby-car. He felt like the others who passed him in their real big cars.
On Sundays he liked to ride in his father’s car. It was their favorite hour. They were so close together. Martin knew those roads, they were supposed to end at a very particular place. And if it took his father to much time to get there he reminded him: „Anta“, he said in his soft voice, which made his father aware that he was longing for his friend Santa, who is a horse. That’s because butterflies like horses, perhaps because horsed are different in a lot of things, they are strong and fast. But they are similar in things which were matter for little butterflies. They enjoy being touched and having someone whispering in their ears.
The road started getting more steep. The ones who pushed the stroller could feel it very well. People went on supporting him, carrying him, removing stones out of the way, bringing light, when it was getting dark. They played songs for him, held his umbrella when it was raining.
They talked to his parents, they lined his road and waved to him.
Some were very far away. They told his parents, it was to much for them and it wouldn’t work anyway. „You should let him fly, it would be so much easier for you.“
But his parents didn’t believe that it was easier without him.
He had never learned to speak. He used a secret language, which could be only understood by his closest friends. Grandma was „Omma“ which is still pretty easy to understand. His aunt who took him on her horse was „Aana“, his dad „Abba“. When he wanted to go to the pool he said „Emba“.
Yes, he had developed his own language. When he wanted French Fries, he knocked 3 times on the table. He did it a lot of times because he always liked French Fries. To people who didn’t know he had not only 1 grandma called Anneliese but 2, he held up 2 fingers to make his point.
Swimming in warm water was his favorite activity. He felt so light and didn’t have to rely on his weak little legs.
Someday it became completely dark around the little . He wasn’t able to see anything at all.
His friends had to come even closer to be able to communicate with him. Martin grew more and more sad.
His friends told him: „Stay with us! We will do whatever it takes to help you. We are strong, we are able to see, we are your legs and your eyes, you are our heart
Some day he came to a country where people spoke a different language than in Germany. But he was very well able to understand what they said. They spoke his language. They took him in their arms, hugged him and danced Samba with him. The words they whispered ins his ear can be understood by every butterfly. Unfortunately it was way to hot in this country and he had to go on. The people of this country waved good-bye.
He could feel their tears and hear they whispers all his life long.
He came to a different country, where he didn’t meet people on the streets at all. They drove by in big cars and sometimes you couldn’t even tell if their were human beings in these cars at all.
This country was not as hot as the previous one. However, it was much warmer than in Germany, where it had been to cold for him on a lot of days. He liked this country with the big cars, for school he was being picked up by a big yellow bus, much the same way like his brother was.
He met people who told him: “Let us see what we can teach you”.
They went swimming, he learned to crash cans, they made paintings, sometimes the whole class went shopping. They played songs for him, he liked songs very much.
When grandma called from Germany his right hand started waving back and forth. And from the far country, thru the phone, he could hear his favorite song „Klingglöckchen, klingelingeling“, the famous German Christmas song. He wanted to hear it all day long.
The weather in this country was perfect for little butterflies.
It did’t take him much time to figur out there were more little butterflies around. First they were far away, but they kept coming closer and eventually he knew they were his brothers and sisters. Like him they were being pushed in strollers by their parents, family, friends. Few of them were able to walk some steps on their little weak legs. They were like him, bigger or smaller, stronger or weaker.
Sometimes they were very close together.
They called each other and touched their hands, petted their heads, they were so nice to each other. When they were seperated they were always aware were each of them was. And no matter how far apart they were, they were all driving into the same direction. They had different ways to go, which were sometimes steeper than Martin’s.
Sometimes their ways were easier and they were able to make good progress.
There were also sections were everything came together: the road was steep and winding, it was dark and raining, wind was shaking the little strollers. He had seen some of them open their little wings and take off for good.
The families whose butterflies had taken off could feel that the stroller had become lighter. But they didn’t have the strength they had had before. They were sad and started crying on seing little Martin because he brought back the memory of their own little butterfly.
The way became narrow and more difficult now. Martin had toothache and he wasn’t able to eat any more.
Once again he met the men in white dresses who told him: “You don’t need your teeth at all and we can feed you thru a tube”.
Martin never had been a good eater. Now he didn’t have to eat any more, no bananas, no French Fries, no icecream.
Martin became more and more passive, he needed less and less. Most times he lay flat on a cushion listening to music. His friends asked him: what do you need, we would like to make you a present. He did not answer. They could only guess he had gotten everything he needed.
The date was May 20, 2002.
His way had become very steep, it was dark and it was raining, the wind started blowing.
His friends were afraid. They had seen other butterflies taking off under similar conditions.
They told Martin: “Stay with us, we love you, you are our heart, we need you, don’t let us alone.”
The wind was blowing stronger now.
Martin’s wings started trembling, he said: “I love you too. I could only make it to this point because I had you, my parents, our family, our friends, teachers and fellow-students. You all shared carrying me and pushing my stroller. Now we are all tired. I would rather stay with you, but you know, I have to go.”
The wind had grown very strong now. The little opened his wings. They moved up and down. His friends hugged him a last time. They kissed him on his forehead and said:
“Fly, Martin, fly!