Embracing Healing and Remembrance at the Hospice of the North Coast 2023 Butterfly Release Memorial

On June 11th, the Hospice of the North Coast hosted the highly anticipated Butterfly Release Memorial at the breathtaking Carlsbad flower fields. The event proved to be a powerful and memorable experience, bringing attendees together to honor and remember their loved ones in a unique and meaningful way. From the expressive arts workshop to the formal musical program and the symbolic release of butterflies, each element of the memorial provided solace, healing, and a sense of unity.

Expressive Arts Workshop: Unveiling Your Loved One’s Legacy through Storytelling:

The day commenced with the Expressive Arts Workshop, a transformative gathering where participants were invited to share and unveil the legacies of their departed loved ones through the power of storytelling. Attendees poured their hearts out, sharing cherished memories and tales that honored the lives of their loved ones. The workshop provided a safe and supportive space for individuals to connect, heal, and find comfort in the shared experiences of grief and remembrance.

The Formal Musical Program and Butterfly Release:

The formal Musical Program and Butterfly Release brought a literal and figurative ray of sunshine and solace to the attendees. Sandi, a talented musician, graced the stage and delivered soulful melodies that resonated deeply with the hearts of those in attendance. Her music brought comfort and solace, as she shared her personal experiences of caring for patients, including her own mother. Sandi’s authenticity and heartfelt performance touched the souls of all present, reminding them of the power of music in healing and remembering.

Ian’s Musical Contribution and “Shadow of Pine”:

In addition to Sandi’s captivating performance, Ian, another talented musician, contributed to the musical program. His songs, inspired by the wisdom of those who have endured loss, resonated deeply with the audience, reminding them to embrace life fully in the face of profound lessons. Ian’s special song, “Shadow of Pine,” brought comfort and touched the hearts of all those present, offering a powerful message of resilience and hope.

The highlight of the event was undoubtedly the release of the butterflies. As the delicate butterflies took flight, a sense of serenity and hope filled the air. Each butterfly became a symbol of transformation, carrying the spirit and eternal connection between the living and their departed loved ones. The sight of the butterflies fluttering amidst the flowers provided solace and healing to the attendees, who found peace in knowing that their loved ones’ memories would forever live on.

The 3:00 PM – Drum Circle: A Celebration of Grief and Remembrance:

At 3:00 PM, a drum circle provided a unique and cathartic way to grieve and celebrate the lives of loved ones lost. Attendees gathered in unity, allowing the rhythmic beats of the drums to guide their emotions. The drumming became a powerful expression of grief and a celebration of life, providing a sacred space for individuals to honor their loved ones and find strength in the collective support of the community.


The Hospice of the North Coast 2023 Butterfly Release Memorial was a day filled with deep emotions, healing, and remembrance. From the expressive arts workshop to the musical program, the release of butterflies, and the drum circle, each element of the memorial offered attendees solace, comfort, and a sense of unity. Through the power of storytelling, music, and symbolic gestures, the event created a space where individuals could honor their loved ones, share their grief, and find hope amidst the journey of healing. The memories and experiences shared during this memorial will forever remain etched in the hearts of those who attended, serving as a source of comfort and inspiration as they continue their personal healing journeys.

Inspirational Message, Jim Reiser, Jr. M.A., LMFT
Hope Bereavement Center
Bereavement Services Coordinator

Sandi Kimmel is a singer-songwriter, author and teacher sharing her music, her voice, her writing and her heart to introduce people to their own spiritual  nature. Her 4 albums of original healing songs deliver universal messages of love and unity wrapped in singable melodies to guide listeners to their innermost heart, and her songs have been streamed and downloaded by millions of people worldwide. A former hospice volunteer, Sandi shared her music with many patients in New York and California, and most recently, with her mother. In addition, she authored a handbook for caregivers called HEART WIDE OPEN – Self-Care for Caregivers currently used in hospitals, hospices, support groups and by families all over the country. Her blog is filled with stories of her sometimes bumpy path, peppered with nuggets of wisdom gleaned from years of navigating her own way. You can find more of Sandi’s work at her website, sandikimmel.com, blog.sandikimmel.com and wherever you listen to music. 

Ian McCartor writes songs inspired by the wisdom of those who have suffered loss, with the hopes of inspiring others to live life to the fullest in light of these lessons. Ian has worked as a hospice nurse and co-facilitator for grief and bereavement therapy, using songwriting as a way to compartmentalize loss, redirecting the perspective to something that can be seen as beautiful. He also sits bedside with those who are in their final hours, offering to be an open vessel for them if they pass with unspoken words. You can explore more of his work on ianmccartor.com