LAPEL — Amy Ingram could never forget her father’s unwavering, positive personality.

Growing up, Ingram remembered her dad repeating the same phrase: “I used to complain about how my feet hurt, till I met a man without feet.”

Ingram’s father wrote dozens of poems for her over the years about positivity, love, family and life.

Seeing that his daughter had a talent for writing herself, he always insisted she work toward publishing a book of her own.

Ingram said her father’s many years of encouragement have had an impact on her, and she dedicates her first book to him.

Amy Ingram, a Lapel High School teacher from Fortville, published the children’s story “When a Butterfly Lands” and planned to have copies available Nov. 20 (as this story went to press).

Her book is a 16-page, free verse poem about coping with the loss of a loved one and finding comfort in times of grief and loneliness.

Last summer, the idea for the book came to Ingram in the middle of the night. Seizing the moment of inspiration, she immediately rolled out of bed and began jotting down her thoughts.

She finished writing the poem in 22 minutes.

The book tells a story of people receiving signs of support from their lost loved ones through butterflies.

A caterpillar, given the maps detailing where to go while in its cocoon, emerges as a butterfly and flies to a grieving person as a message of comfort from their lost friend or family member.

“So, if you’ve been touched by a butterfly, or had a fly-by if you will, then know that it’s on the wings of love from your loved one,” Ingram said.

Therapy through bonding

Much of Ingram’s inspiration to write a poem comforting those in mourning came from the death of her favorite student.

Three years ago, Ingram’s former student Priscia Rose died following a car accident.

“I’m a teacher, but those kids are mine,” Ingram said. “I know each of their likes and their dislikes. That’s just part of my role as their teacher. They’re my kids. So I was really affected by that, and I knew that wasn’t even 1 percent of the grief that (her parents) felt.”

Ingram grew close to Priscilla Rose, Priscia’s mother, after Priscia passed away. Remembering Ingram as a kind, supportive and patient teacher, Priscilla Rose helped Ingram in perfecting the book throughout the publishing process.

In their conversations, they discussed the journey the family went through as it dealt with loss, and they shared their favorite memories of Priscia.

“It’s important for other parents to get an idea, to understand what heartbreak is,” Rose said. “I think this book is fantastic — what she’s done… If this book can help somebody else cope, too, then that would be wonderful.”

Many of Ingram’s friends and family members assisted in the production process. The book is illustrated by friends and family of lost loved ones from around the county, Ingram said. One friend was Rob McKeeman, a Hancock County resident and Indiana State Police Officer, who helped contribute to a page honoring the families of fallen service members.

Having caught the publishing bug, Ingram is working on finishing two other books. She enjoys writing children’s stories that deal with mature family issues. Her other work includes stories with animal characters and lighthearted settings, but also with sensitive themes, focusing on topics such as adoption and divorce.

“When a Butterfly Lands” can be pre-ordered through PayPal, Ingram said. A majority of the proceeds will go toward donating butterfly furniture, blankets and toys to children’s hospitals.

Ingram also plans to make her book available at funeral homes, churches and other places with grief counseling services.