ANSONIA — Kathy Hiestand of Ansonia keeps busy in several ways.
She started Butterflies in Heaven after she lost lost her son, Carlos Trueblood, to a drug overdose in 2016.
“I was so distraught after my son’s death, I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “I was looking on Facebook and I saw some graphics of a friend of my daughter who passed earlier that year, so I asked her how do I get one of those made with Carlos’ picture in it. She told me about a group that did graphics for anyone who lost a loved one.”
So, Hiestand joined the group and realized that they were so neat.
“I wanted to learn to make my own, so I looked on Google, figured it out and now I make my own or use an app,” she said. ” I have the Butterflies in Heaven group, which has over 4,000 members. She and I also have another group, called Loss of a Child, for those who lost a child to a drug addiction. This one I don’t do graphics in; it’s just for information on how to help a loved one who is addicted to drugs.”
Hiestand said she doesn’t charge for any of her graphics.
“For a lot of angel families I do out of the group for special occasions or angel anniversary. An angel anniversary is when the loved one passed and we celebrate their day in heaven,” she said.
Hiestand said that this is not a career.
“It’s just something I feel I need to do to try to bestow some joy into an angel’s family,” she said. “I feel like my son called me to do this. I’m not the only one who does; there are tons of groups who make beautiful graphics.”
It has allowed her to meet, via internet, “the most wonderful angel moms, dads, grandmas, sisters, etc.”
“We talk sometime and, if we’re having a bad day, we give each other support.,” Hiestand said. “The loss of a loved one can be very sad. It doesn’t matter who you lost, it’s still a hard thing to overcome.”
Hiestand plans on continuing with these graphics for as long as she is able.
“It gives me peace and makes me feel like my son’s memory will never fade as long as I breathe,” she said. “Carlos was my youngest son who fought the addiction 10 years.”
She also has four other children and has seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
“My husband and I have lived in Ansonia well over 20 years,” she said. “I’ve lost both of my parents. Sometime, I’ll do graphics of them, like Mother’s Day, birthday, etc.”
She said she sometimes does graphics for her grandchildren, like making one of them into Batman or Elsa just for fun.
“Sometimes it’s overwhelming when you have over 200 or 300 graphics to make for angel families,” Hiestand concluded, “But, to me, it’s worth it just to see them smile.”
Contact Staff Writer Linda Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (937)569-4315 ext. 1749. Read more news, features and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.