Rita Blau: Butterflies Stir
just miss hearing her, I miss listening to her," said
Michele Buffolino, who used to talk to her mother, Rita
Blau, twice a day, even when they lived across the street
from each other.
"If she heard a good song on the radio, she hopped out
of her seat and she was dancing with us," Ms. Buffolino
said. She would tell stories of family members twirling
her around the living room.
Ira Blau, her husband of 11 years, created a memorial
room in their home for her, with candles, pictures and
music. "She came back in my life now as a sea gull," he
said. He got a tattoo of one on his legs, in her
So Ms. Buffolino has noticed sea gulls lately. "When I
get off the bus, there's usually one that flies off
towards where the World Trade Center used to be." That's
where Mrs. Blau, 52, was a telephone operator for
Fiduciary Trust International.
"To me, my mother is a butterfly," Ms. Buffolino said.
"Anytime I'm sad, when I need to see her, I say, 'O.K.,
Ma, show me a butterfly.'" She sees them everywhere now,
in pictures, in stores.