“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly”.
– Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu
Butterflies have long been recognized by religions, native animal symbolism, cultural myth and lore as a significant representation of life, transformation and rebirth. Many cultures relate butterflies to the human soul. It is fitting then, that in the small community of Beaverton, Ontario, where residents gather annually on a Sunday afternoon in June for a community memorial service, that they release butterflies in honour of their loved ones.
The “Brock and Area Community Memorial Service and Butterfly Release” is a well-attended event and is deeply appreciated by many. I am happy to help the planning committee by taking orders for the butterflies.
But it’s difficult.
In the process of taking orders, I am required to ask the caller the name of the loved one that the butterfly is in honour of. Sometimes it is for a parent, sometimes a neighbour or friend, and sometimes it is for a sibling or a child. Sometimes it has been a recent death and I will spend the next few minutes listening to the stories that people want and need to tell of their loved one. And I am deeply honoured that they have shared their story with me. And I am deeply saddened.
I have talked to the mother of a teenage daughter who was killed on a motorcycle just months prior. I can’t begin to imagine her pain as I think of my own 3 daughters. Yet, she is sharing her loss with me, and appreciative of an event such as this to grieve and to honour her daughter.
I have talked with a gentleman whose butterfly is in honour of his wife who passed almost a year ago, who happily expressed to me his good fortune in being married to her for 59 years.
Every story is unique and heartwarming. Every person is loved and missed so very much. Every call brings tears to my eyes and often requires me to leave the office momentarily to compose myself.
I suppose it is so difficult because I lost my mom when I was 11 years old. So every story takes me to a place that I don’t want to go. A place where I relive, as if it were yesterday, how my world fell apart and how the loss of my mother continues to affect me today.
Brock and Area Memorial Service and Butterfly Release
In a time of loss and grief, we need to find comfort. I have been told by people who have attended the event that when the names of the loved ones are read and the butterflies are released, there is an overwhelming feeling of peace and harmony. How beautiful it is that the community can come together at this event to share their losses and to find support, strength and hope.
For more information on the Brock and Area Community Memorial Service and Butterfly Release, please call Brock Community Health Centre at 705.432.3322.