Hospice of Chautauqua County held a Service of Remembrance and Memorial Butterfly Release at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church recently. Hospice hadn't held such an event since 2008.
The event offered the opportunity to remember and honor loved ones by dedicating a butterfly in their memory. Guests shared memories and enjoyed music performed by Amanda Barton of Big Leg Emma and local musician Bill Ward. The highlight of the celebration was the mass release of 250 painted lady butterflies which welcomed the crowd with their beauty as they mingled above them and the flowering plants.
More than 120 people attended. The release of the butterflies was a special way to say 'thank you" for how all of their lives had been brightened and touched by those loved ones who have passed.
Pictured is the Walter family. Don, right, lost his wife the day before the picture was taken due to Alzheimer’s. Film students from Fredonia State had collaborated with Hospice of Chautauqua County to put a documentary together for his wife entitled, “Good Morning Mary Lou.” Hospice played the documentary during a recent service.
All community members were welcomed to dedicate a butterfly. No prior affiliation with Hospice was needed.
Megan D'Angelo, director of community relations, was personally touched by the butterfly release celebration. Aside from being a director for the nonprofit, she has lost loved ones and was powerfully moved by the occasion.
"When we lose someone we have loved, we are always looking for a way to remember them. Releasing the butterflies is a very heartwarming and special way," she said. "When a butterfly lands on you, I truly believe that it is a great way to feel their love and presence, not just on this very special day, but every day."
The donation for the butterflies was $20 for one name to be remembered. The donation reserved a butterfly in honor of their loved one. Those who were unable to attend the Service of Remembrance and Memorial Day Release may still make a donation in the name of a family member by going to hospicechautco.org
Proceeds from the event benefited the work and accommodations of Hospice of Chautauqua County, which aims to provide quality end of life care for the terminally ill and grief support for their families.
For additional information about Hospice of Chautauqua County, the services it provides and upcoming events, call 753-5383.