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June 7, 2013

Butterfly Release to honor lost loved ones

MALONE — Grieving is a process, and often difficult.

Hospice of the North Country Butterfly Release events give those who have lost loved ones a way to remember them, honor them and heal.

The next release is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, June 8, at Malone Recreational Park. 

“It brings people together,” said Amanda Bow, who is Hospice director of development and communications. “There’s a lot of symbolism with butterflies, and one of the things that we try to promote is quality of life and a quality life until the end. 

“The butterfly symbolizes life. So, it’s a great way to remember someone and honor a person that you loved.”

KEPT ON ICE

In 2006, Hospice began an annual Butterfly Release in Plattsburgh. In 2009, a Malone version was added, as many from that area had been traveling to the one in Clinton County.

“In Malone, it keeps growing every year,” Bow said. “This year, I’ve ordered 192 (butterflies), and I have a feeling that I’m going to have to get over 200.”

In 2012, 180 butterflies were released in Malone.

The butterflies are shipped from Swallowtail Farms in El Dorado Hills, Calif. For travel, Bow said, they are put on ice, which keeps them in a hibernating state. 

“They come in little cardboard boxes,” she said. “It’s kind of neat to see them — they’re like little triangles. 

“We take them, and we warm them up. Then they start to wake up, and they’re ready to be released,” she said. 

FOR ALL

Although the releasing of the butterflies is a nice experience in itself, the real reason for the event is for people to reunite and comfort one another in a time of remembrance.

Many families whose loved ones received hospice care participate; so do hospice workers and volunteers.

“Most of our clinical staff that go into the homes come to the event,” Bow said. “It’s just a really good thing.” 

Bow encourages all people who are grieving to come and join in the celebration of the lives of lost loved ones.  

“This isn’t just for Hospice patients or families; it’s for the community,” she said. “So we hope to have a lot of community attendants, as well.”

Butterflies are $20 each. 

To learn more, call the Franklin County Hospice of the North Country office at 483-3200.

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