The murky morning of May 15 gave way to a picturesque, blue-sky-and-sunshine afternoon perfectly befitting (HNC’s) first annual Butterfly Release Memorial at the in Carlsbad. The center’s serene natural environment provided a tranquil backdrop for the walking meditation and ceremony.
More than 60 people, from toddlers to seniors, came together as one to experience HNC’s free event, which was designed to provide healing and hope for people grieving the loss of a loved one. In one lovely tribute, three generations of females came to honor the memory of their predecessor, Ruby Kipping.
The day was a release on many levels, believes Executive Director Nerice Kaufman—“not simply of butterflies but of the many kinds of metamorphosis and stages of grief we go through when someone close to us dies.”
Before the release of the large monarchs, Hope Bereavement Director Melanie Barker explained that butterflies symbolize transformation. She said, “Saying goodbye to a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences we endure in life, and each of our experiences of loss and grief is unique. Yet together, we can find support and strength. Today, let the butterfly symbolize our loved one as they have moved from one realm into another, and let it symbolize us, as we beautifully emerge newly formed.”
The ceremony culminated in a release by participants of their butterfly. As the monarchs were set free, sometimes lingering before soaring into the sky, vocalist and HNC Project Manager Yvette Williams sang, “Somewhere, Over the Rainbow.” All agreed it was a memorable day of introspection, reflection and celebration.
Kaufman thanked the Foundation for use of its facility and the participants who donated at the memorial and at hospicenorthcoast.org. She notes, “From anticipatory grief programs and on-site counseling and support services to therapeutic community outreach activities and events, the Hope Bereavement Center provides an array of programs that help people when they need it most. Anyone can access our services, no matter what their financial or life circumstances."