More than 300 people attended the first annual Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton Celebrating Life’s Stories® Butterfly Release on June 18, remembering and honoring their loved ones on the grounds of the Hospice House (324 Wilmington Ave., Dayton, Ohio 45420).
“Butterflies symbolize beauty, transformation and hope. Like the butterfly, life starts transforming at birth,” said Lori Poelking-Igel, president of Ohio’s Hospice Foundation. “Life is compiled of moments that we use to create memories. These memories are what keep relationships alive, even beyond death.”
Participants listened to the poem, “I Am Always With You.” They also learned about the orange and black Painted Lady butterfly before releasing their butterflies in memory and in honor of their loved ones.
“The Butterfly Release is a beautiful way to remember and honor loved ones who are no longer with us,” Poelking-Igel said. “We are honored and privileged to offer this event to the families of patients we have served.”
Eric Wathe released eight butterflies in honor of several family members who have died in recent years. His father had received services from Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton at the Hospice House. “This is a wonderful way to remember and honor my mom and dad and other family members,” he said.
Lori Ryan and her daughter, Holly Roark, attended the Butterfly Release to remember and honor their husband and father who passed at the Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton Hospice House in July 2020. They released their butterflies by the room where he stayed. Ryan expressed her appreciation for the care that Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton provided her husband. “The nurses told us everything to look for. It was calming to know what to look for,” she said. “They were so respectful of him, even after he passed away.”
Roark reflected on the care that the care team at the Hospice House provided him. “We are so grateful that he was here during his last days,” she said. “They took good care of him.”
Anjaleigh Stinson, a personal care specialist at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, invited several members of her family to attend the Butterfly Release to honor and remember members of their family who had passed. “I thought this would be good for my family to experience the Butterfly Release,” she said. “It was a nice and peaceful event.”
Rose Sams and Teresa Marsee attended the event together. The two friends reflected on loved ones and friends who had died in recent years. Sams took her butterfly to her parents’ gravesite and released it there. Marsee, a volunteer with Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, released her butterfly at her home where she has a small garden and a pond.
Bonnie Campbell, another volunteer with Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, attended the Butterfly Release with her daughter and granddaughters. She comes from a large family. Several of her relatives received care through Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. “The Butterfly Release was special to me,” she said. “I have so many memories of happy times with my family.”
Claire Staley flew in from San Diego, California, to attend the Butterfly Release with 12 members of her extended family. They remembered and honored her grandfather, Bill Wharton, who received care at the Hospice House in April 2022. “The care team was so caring,” she said. “Being here at the Butterfly Release was a wonderful way to remember my grandfather.”
Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton was honored that these individuals celebrated the lives of their loved ones at the Butterfly Release. “We are honored that you joined Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton for our first annual Butterfly Release,” Poelking-Igel said. “It is a privilege to serve our community and provide opportunities to come together as one to remember and share memories, while supporting future end-of-life care for those to come.”
Poelking-Igel expressed a special thank you to the generous sponsors of the Butterfly Release. Monarch sponsors include Greg & Patti Atkinson; Applied Mechanical Systems, Inc.; David’s Cemetery; In Memory of Jon Poelking; Newcomer Funeral Homes; Precision Metal Fabrication, Inc.; and Salem Church of God.
Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, an affiliate of Ohio’s Hospice, is a not-for-profit hospice provider. Since 1978, it has served patients and families in the Dayton region in their homes, extended care and assisted living facilities, and the Hospice House location in Dayton. Grief support services are available to the entire community through the Pathways of Hope℠ Grief Counseling Center. Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton serves more than 1,000 patients and families daily, achieving national recognition for innovative services and outstanding care.