ELLE UNDERHILL: remembered with purple butterflies on rocks across the world and a special song

ABOVE: Elle and Elaina Underhill before the car accident. Photo: Contributed

Susanna Freymark

Today, Elle Underhill should have turned 10.
Only 24 days after Elle celebrated her fourth birthday with her parents and sister Elaina, she died in a car crash.
That fatal day is one her mother Michelle Underhill will never forget.
The sirens Michelle and her husband heard from their home on December 18 became the kind of nightmare every parent dreads. They found Elle had been killed and her younger sister Elaina was seriously injured when the car driven by the girl’s babysitter was involved in a crash.
“That day is etched on my memory and in my heart so vividly that it feels like yesterday,” Michelle said.
“They say there are some people so bright that even when they have left this world their light still remains. This couldn’t be more true for my beautiful Elle.”
The memory of Elle is kept alive in many ways including through her love of purple butterflies.
On World Day of Remembrance for Road Trauma Victims on November 21, Elle was honoured by the community hiding rocks painted with purple butterflies.
In the Butterflies 4 Elle community Facebook group, people have posted photos of their rocks for Elle.

The Australian Road Safety Foundation said painting a butterfly on a pebble for Elle became an international symbol of the importance of choosing road safety. Butterflies for Elle have been painted from Canberra to Colorado, Mexico and even Romania.
 Michelle hopes the movement will remind people that road fatalities are far more than a number, they are someone’s loved one or friend.
“I tell Elle and Elaina’s story to educate and enlighten people, to raise awareness but also to show others that are walking this horrendous path of grief, that there is light and hope. That while our grief journeys are as individual and unique as our fingerprints that people still care. That their loved ones aren’t forgotten and never will be,” she said.
“We’ll never know exactly how many lives are saved by painting a butterfly or sharing Elle’s story, but even just one is worth it, because that one is someone’s entire world.”
Road trauma is the leading cause of death to children aged 1-14, and the second to young people aged 15-24.
To add to Elle’s birthday tributes is a song written by Casino musician Josh Powell Fussell and performed with Max Powell.
Taking inspiration from the rocks painted for Elle, Josh penned Butterflies 4 Elle.
“Rocks around the world, make wings unfurl.”
Josh said the song is his proudest achievement.
“Michelle is in my heart all the time,” Josh said.
Michelle first heard the song sitting in the garden when a massive butterfly flew by.
Elle continues to live in memories, song tunes and lots of beautiful butterflies.
A rock for Elle photo sent from America.

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