Butterfly release in Rindge offers chance to let go of grief

Laura Paul releases a Monarch butterfly at Cathedral of the Pines in honor of her late mother.

Laura Paul releases a Monarch butterfly at Cathedral of the Pines in honor of her late mother. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

A Monarch butterfly lands on the shirt of Kimberly Ferguson shortly after being released.

A Monarch butterfly lands on the shirt of Kimberly Ferguson shortly after being released. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

Kimberly Ferguson releases a Monarch butterfly in honor of her mother at Cathedral of the Pines on Thursday.

Kimberly Ferguson releases a Monarch butterfly in honor of her mother at Cathedral of the Pines on Thursday. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI

A painted lady butterfly lands on the finger of Dale Bull of Rindge.

A painted lady butterfly lands on the finger of Dale Bull of Rindge. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI

A painted lady butterfly lands on the finger of Dale Bull of Rindge as she and her husband, Chip Bull, release it in honor of those they’ve lost.

A painted lady butterfly lands on the finger of Dale Bull of Rindge as she and her husband, Chip Bull, release it in honor of those they’ve lost. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI

By ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 06-24-2024 12:24 PM

Modified: 06-24-2024 1:49 PM


Laura Paul carefully unfolded a piece of paper. Between the pages, the brilliant orange wings of a Monarch butterfly bloomed, as it awoke and fluttered from Paul’s hands.

It was a memorial for Paul, who released the butterfly as part of the Home Healthcare, Hospice & Community Services event at Cathedral of the Pines on Thursday.

“My mother, Judith, died in April of Alzheimer’s complications, after a 15-year battle,” said Paul, who traveled to Rindge from her home in Westminster, Mas., to be part of the event. “So, we’re glad that she’s free, like the butterflies. She remembers who we are now.”

Paul was joined on Thursday by her friend, Kimberly Ferguson, of Gardner, Mass., who was also releasing a Monarch butterfly in honor of her mother, who died May 15.

“We’re walking this path together,” Ferguson said of her and Paul learning to cope with the grief of losing their mothers. Her mother, she said, had lived with her and her husband for the past 25 years, while they provided assistance. She said when she first heard of the butterfly release, her mother was still with them, but reaching the end of her life on hospice care. She knew it would be a way she could honor her mother.

Dale and Chip Bull of Rindge also attended the event, and released a painted lady butterfly, which they said was to honor a number of lost friends and particularly some of the longtime pets they’ve recently lost, including their cats Mitzi and Eleanor and their dog Cyprus.

“They’re family,” Chip Bull said of his pets and why he wanted to honor them. “People are wonderful, but pets give a total, undivided love.”

Sareen Sarna, the director of philanthropy at Home Healthcare, Hospice & Community Services, said this is the 13th annual butterfly release the organization has run. The event at the cathedral was the first day of a three-day event, with further releases planned for the Keene Butterfly Park. She said it’s an event that’s only grown since its inception, with 900 butterflies intended to be released this year. About 300 signed up for the Cathedral of the Pines event on Thursday.

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Sarna said for many people, the event is deeply meaningful.

“At the end of the day, it’s a program that will live in people’s minds forever,” Sarna said. “It provides an opportunity for people of all ages to release a butterfly.”

Earlier that day, prior to the Cathedral of the Pines event, Home Healthcare also held a butterfly release at the Jaffrey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, for those where were unable to travel to the cathedral.

Cathedral of the Pines became a new location for the event starting in 2022. Funds raised and donations made through the butterfly release go to support hospice services at Home Healthcare, Hospice & Community Services, which serves 52 towns across Cheshire, Hillsborough and Sullivan counties. Among the services they provide are visiting nurses, hospice care, Meals on Wheels, including the Jaffrey hub; Healthy Starts, which provides parent education and connection to services; and kinship navigation for those who have taken custody of a member of their family such as a grandchild.

For information about Home Healthcare, Hospice & Community Services, visit hcsservices.org.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172, Ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on X @AshleySaariMLT.