Hospice Muskoka releases butterflies to aid healing
Those who are grieving have the opportunity to spend a few healing moments with a monarch butterfly at the first Muskoka Butterfly Release Day on July 7 which is a fundraiser for Hospice Muskoka.
SOUTH MUSKOKA - Hospice Muskoka is planning the first butterfly release day to ease grief and raise money for grief programs.
Releasing a butterfly is described as a healing and highly emotional experience that can comfort family and friends when they are suffering loss. It provides an intimate moment with a monarch butterfly as it emerges and unfolds its wings then takes flight, sometimes immediately, sometimes after a few moments.
Pilar de Rubio, one of the organizers of the program, describes her own experience releasing a butterfly in memory of her father.
“For me releasing the butterfly is very emotional, it’s sacred,” she said.
The Butterfly Release Day will take place on Sunday, July 7 at the Memorial Park in Bracebridge from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Butterflies will be sold for $30 or four butterflies for $100.
Hospice Muskoka is a volunteer-driven, community based, non-profit organization that provides end-of-life care to individuals and support to their loved ones.
The proceeds of the event will be used for the development and enhancement of the hospice’s bereavement support programs for the South Muskoka community which include one on one support and eight-week group sessions.
The hospice is hoping to revive the creative art therapy program for children.
Ghislaine Laferriere, another organizer and volunteer with Hospice Muskoka, said everyone goes through grief when they lose a loved one – feeling hurt inside - but they must also go through mourning – bringing the grief into the public, which is often done by talking about it.
“Kids usually don’t share, so they can do it through the art therapy,” she said.
The program costs about $1,000 per child was last run in 2011 but closed because of lack of funds.
“We want to bring it back because children are our future,” Laferriere said.
Hospice Muskoka is funded 20 per cent by the government, and depends on community support to cover the remaining 80 per cent of the expenses.
De Rubio said though the programs are run by volunteers, they need to raise upwards of $20,000 to continue the programs for one year, some of the money being used for training.
The event is raising money for the South Muskoka area which covers Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Port Carling, Bala and Severn Bridge.
The day will begin with a special ceremony including speeches from local dignitaries, inspirational songs and poems, a reading of the names of those the butterflies are being released in memory of, butterfly colouring and face painting for the children and a barbeque hosted by the Bracebridge Lions Club.
The hospice is hoping to release at least 300 butterflies. The last day to order a butterfly is June 10.