We cannot go around the pain of grief. Instead we must learn to embrace and express it. If you or someone you know has lost someone special to them, then the seventh annual Butterfly Effect next month in Kelowna might be the beautiful way to celebrate them.
The Central Okanagan Hospice Association conducts the event as a fundraiser and, more importantly, as a way to help those on their grief journey.
“We are proud to offer this event, because it brings our community together to take part in a beautiful and symbolic ceremony, where we release hundreds of butterflies in honour and remembrance of loved ones,” COHA bereavement services associate director Jessica Hughes says.
“Around the world people have used the butterfly as representing endurance, change, hope and life, and this event is a special way to come together with family and friends to remember loved ones and to watch the butterflies fly off into nature, which can be very healing and symbolic.”
Anyone and everyone is invited to attend the all-ages event, which will be held on Sunday, July 21, at Kelowna’s Falcon Ridge Farms (579 Rifle Rd). The program will start at 10 a.m. and go until 1 p.m., with the butterfly release scheduled for 11:30 a.m. if the weather allows for it.
“There is a ceremonial verse that we provide before the release and a song that is specifically chosen and played for the release,” COHA executive director Natasha Girard says. “And we try to release as a group if possible. There’s quite a lot of emotion in that when doing it all together, since we have come together for the day to be with one another and watch the butterflies fly to the sky.”
There will be a kids’ zone, local artisans, live entertainment, food and refreshments, and a spectacular butterfly release. Attendance has been rising every year, and last year more than 700 people came out to support COHA. More than 3,750 butterflies were released over the event’s first six years.
“We see lots of family members coming from our community but also people coming from out of town to share in this experience, as well as friends,” Hughes says. “It can be very emotional, and at the same time the feedback after is that they feel a lot lighter and that they’re supported with everyone being there, the energy that’s there.
“Any time that you can incorporate ceremony when it comes to grief and loss, it’s helpful. It’s a beautiful thing to participate in and just to watch.”
Money raised from the Butterfly Effect supports COHA’s bereavement services, which are free of charge and include grief groups, walking groups, bereavement yoga, one-to-one counselling and other wellness programs.
Hughes recalls a touching moment involving a woman who had recently lost her sister. A butterfly that had been released touched down on the woman’s hand and remained there for several minutes.
“She shared with me,” Hughes says. “She really felt her sister with her.”
Anyone who wants to purchase one or more butterflies can do so online at hospicecoha.org, by phone at 250-763-5511 or by visiting the COHA August Centre at 1890 Cooper Rd.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.
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