A butterfly soaks up early evening sunshine as it waits to flutter away. Butterflies were released at York AseraCare Hospice’s “A Butterfly to Remember” service for grieving loved ones. The butterflies symbolize the souls of those lost.

YORK—Ancient Greeks believed that once the soul was released from death, it would find freedom on the wings of a butterfly.

This symbolism was recognized at the “A Butterfly to Remember: an AseraCare Memorial Event.” AseraCare Hospice agencies across the nation – including York -- offered this event to help loved ones process the grief of those lost. York’s AseraCare Hospice team – spearheaded by AseraCare Hospice Bereavement Coordinator Arielle Lindt -- organized and attended the memorial.

A memorial ceremony was given prior to a group butterfly release, filled with prayer, music, poetry and shared memories.

“The Butterfly Effect” theory offers another facet to the services. The theory states that something that might seem small (a butterfly’s flicking wings, for example) can make a huge impact somewhere else. Something seemingly subtle has the power to change someone else, such as a phone call. In some instances, it could be the best thing that happens to a person all day.

Heine said there were 231 clients – all from within the last 11 months -- who were memorialized with music and a slide show presentation – each and every one special to the AseraCare employees, said AseraCare Volunteer Coordinator Suzy Heine. “We build such a strong bond with patients and their families.”

Singers performed “Amazing Grace” a cappella, prayers were offered and families shared memories of their honored loved one.

The grieving were each given a Painted Lady butterfly for release at the end of the service. Dozens of loved ones formed a circle near the Wessels Living History Farm Chapel, with the serene Wessels meadow in the backdrop.

“It’s a sense of closure,” Heine said.

In their life cycle, once released from the confines of their chrysalis, butterflies flutter to freedom. A Butterfly to Remember reminded those grieving that the Greek word for “butterfly” and “soul” are one in the same.


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