In October of 2018, The Austry Family, who lost a son to Viral Myocarditis in 2010, planted a Monarch Butterfly Station in Fort Worth, Texas. Butterflies, are considered symbols of loved ones who have died, coming back to visit them.

Gen Rumore & Sharon Austry                  Sharon & Jerry Austry


Below, is an update on how it is doing and how people stop to visit the Monarch Butterfly Waystation.

This letter was recently posted in the NY Times.

After reading “With Grief by their Side”(Arts and Leisure, May 26), I was blown away by the similarities to a recent meeting of The Compassionate Friends grief support group, at which members were given various art and writing materials to help them explore ways to express their grief after the loss of a child, a grandchild or a sibling.

Our son Mark died of myocarditis after running in a half-marathon, at the finish line. Since the butterfly is the symbol of The Compassionate Friends, my husband and I decided to plant a Monarch butterfly garden in his memory. We dedicated the garden on his birthday, which is near the anniversary of the Monarchs arriving in Mexico after their annual migration of up to 3,000 miles from the northern U.S. and Canada.

When people stop to admire the flowers at our “Monarch Waystation” we give them plants and explain how important it for them to plant host and nectar in order to save this magnificent but endangered butterfly.

Now as more beautiful butterflies appear daily in our garden, each one of them reminds us of a wonderful memory of our beautiful son.


There was a large group of friends and family who gathered that day 6 years ago, around the beautiful garden that will be a remembrance of Mark as well as a “Waystation” for Monarch Butterflies. Monarch Butterflies spend the winter in Mexico. In the early spring, they will come back to the United States to lay their eggs on Milkweed plants. They eat the Milkweed as they develop from caterpillars to butterflies. Sharon, Mark’s mother, took on the task of going through all the red tape to get permission to use the land and construct the garden. She consulted with the Native Plant Society of Texas on which plants would be best to plant to aid the butterflies in providing them sustenance and a place for them to lay their eggs and grow in the spring.

Sharon welcomed and thanked everyone for attending. Gen Rumore, the Executive Director of the Myocarditis Foundation, spoke on myocarditis and what the Foundation uses donation dollars for. Mark’s father, Jerry, read a beautiful poem as three dozen Monarch butterflies, that Sharon had obtained from a butterfly breeder, were released.

On the day of the commemoration, there were many butterflies dining on the nectar of the plants. Many of the gatherers were commenting that they have never seen so many butterflies in one place! What a beautiful way to memorialize a loved one and attract and feed butterflies!

Thank you, Sharon, for all your hard work, and for helping beautify the landscape in memory of Mark.

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