Piedmont Crossing Butterfly Release Celebrates Life

September 14, 2017

Residents, friends, family members, and staff gathered at Piedmont Crossing on two Sundays in September to release over 60 butterflies in memory of loved ones.

"Butterflies are a beautiful and hopeful symbol of transformation, new life, and spirituality,” shared Rev. Bob Symanski, Director of Spiritual Life at Piedmont Crossing. “Grief is a natural process of releasing, letting go of someone we love. These ceremonies help people honor their feelings of loss while also recognizing death as a transition, not an end – much like the change from caterpillar to butterfly. It’s a little easier to ‘let go’ of loved ones knowing we release their spirits into a new beginning.

Guests watched closely and quietly as families of lost loved ones opened each small box to allow the magnificent Monarch butterflies to emerge. After first emerging from the box, the butterflies very often alight on the hands, shoulder or head of the person holding the box, but soon fly to nearby flowers and shrubbery on the campus of Piedmont Crossing.

One resident was overheard saying, “it is so calming to watch as the butterflies fly from flower to flower, I only wish they would stay longer.” According to National Geographic, Monarch butterflies are known for their incredible mass migration that brings millions of them to California and Mexico each winter. Monarchs are the only butterflies that make such a massive journey- up to 3,000 miles.

“Several guests shared with me that releasing the butterflies helped them find hope and peace in their hearts," stated Rev. Bob Symanski, Director of Spiritual Life at Piedmont Crossing. “As human beings, we thrive better on hope than despair. Remembering how we loved our family member is better than remembering the loss. Hope can become our driving force – it can even give us new wings to fly.”