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Butterflies and spirits soar at Hospice event

CARLSBAD —May 15 Hospice of the North Coast (HNC) hosted its first annual Butterfly Release Memorial at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation Discovery Center in Carlsbad. The center’s serene natural environment provided a tranquil backdrop for the walking meditation and ceremony.
More than 60 people, from toddlers to seniors, came together to experience HNC’s free event, which was designed to provide healing and hope for people grieving the loss of a loved one. In one lovely tribute, three generations of females came to honor the memory of their predecessor, Ruby Kipping.
The day was a release on many levels, said Executive Director Nerice Kaufman, “not simply of butterflies but of the many kinds of metamorphosis and stages of grief we go through when someone close to us dies,” he added.
Before the release of the large monarchs, Hope Bereavement Director Melanie Barker explained that butterflies symbolize transformation. “Saying goodbye to a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences we endure in life, and each of our experiences of loss and grief is unique. Yet together, we can find support and strength. Today, let the butterfly symbolize our loved one as they have moved from one realm into another, and let it symbolize us, as we beautifully emerge newly formed,” she said.
The ceremony ended with participants releasing their butterflys. As the monarchs were set free, sometimes lingering before soaring into the sky, HNC Project Manager and vocalist Yvette Williams sang, “Somewhere, Over the Rainbow.”
Kaufman thanked the Foundation for the use of its facility and the participants who donated at the memorial and online at
“From anticipatory grief programs and on-site counseling and support services to therapeutic community outreach activities and events, the Hope Bereavement Center provides an array of programs that help people when they need it most,” Kaufman said. “Anyone can access our services, no matter what their financial or life circumstances.”
Nonprofit Hospice of the North Coast, 2525 Pio Pico Drive, was established in 1980 to fill the need for comprehensive, compassionate hospice care in North County San Diego. Since its inception, it has grown in services, staff and clients; it currently provides a full spectrum of programs to terminally ill clients and their families, including bereavement support. To fulfill its mission of maintaining dignity, comfort and highest quality of life for those it serves, regardless of ability to pay, HNC hosts fundraising events, operates a family support camp and resale shop, and maintains a cadre of volunteers.