Butterfly Release Memorial 2019 - Hospice of the North Coast

Another Successful 🦋 Butterfly Release

I am happy to report another very successful Butterfly Release event. Why was it successful? When I design these events, I first think about what “intention” I want to bring to our grieving guests. My intention for this event was simple – to create an atmosphere in which participants would be inspired through participation and sharing. This is an important piece to this process, because what we are really thinking about is impact.

What impact did we wish for, and did we accomplish it? Although we were challenged by Mother Nature with rain, we had a robust turnout of 265 people. Dr. Eva Shaw, our speaker, was both poignant & humorous in delivering her message of self-compassion through gardening therapy. Our musical team of singer Patti Carroll, and accompanist Mark Phelps did a  soulful medley of Amazing Grace, Never Walk Alone, and Raise Me Up. The songs must have been very powerful as the clouds opened up to allow the sun to shine, and the butterflies to fly.

After we released the butterflies, our guests were invited to join the drum circle and expressive art activities. Then the sound of drumming began, and the tents filled with those desiring community and artistic expression.  Hands of strength were created, families sat together expressing through art the amazing courage found, the resiliency expressed and the heartfelt love that kept them going. Even that day, their strengths were evident, families joined together placing their hands on the tree of strength and memorializing their loved one nearby on the trunk of the tree in the form of a butterfly taking flight. The mural took shape, photos were taken, strength was gained from the others around them, tears were shed at the remembrance of the trial they had recently faced together. As we worked, the drums were beating like a heart beat reminding each person that life goes on, that strength can be found when we join together and remember those we lost. And when it was all said and done, beauty was created even when we grieve, because we grieve together.

The impact I noticed fulfilled our intention. Many guests approached me with smiles and thanked HNC for providing this event to the community. As I walked the venue and visited the activities I heard people talking to each other, sharing, and laughing. The thought I had was this – through a difficult time in people’s lives, we provided a place for them to receive inspiration, and a moment to accept gratitude.