Butterfly release honours lost loved ones

From open palms dozens of Painted Lady butterflies flew outside the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Centre on Saturday, symbolizing both the grief and love of those who sent them out into the world.

NOTL Palliative Care’s third annual "Celebration of Life Butterfly Release" gave the more than 160 people who participated the opportunity to honour a loved one who is no longer with them.

Following words from executive director Bonnie Bagnulo and a reading of names from Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa, butterflies were released in memory of those who have died.

For Roger and Myra Goodman the butterfly was in honour of their late son-in-law, whom they lost just six weeks ago.

“My daughter, who lives in B.C., was here on holiday and we went to Scotland on holiday. While we were there, her husband died,” Myra said in an interview.

Their release of a butterfly was on their daughter’s behalf, she added, and she plans to mail her the ceremony's program with her husband's name on it.

Goodman did not expect the huge crowd who came out, she said.

Among those on hand were members of the Taylor family.

Rhonda, along with her brother Ryan and mom Raisa released butterflies to remember her late father, Ron Taylor.

Ron and Raisa were married for 60 years when he died last year from complications due to ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Before his death, he and his family connected with the ALS Society of Canada.

“Between that society and palliative care, they made a really heartbreaking exit much more beautiful,” Rhonda said.

Ryan added that his father was always ready to have a laugh.

“He would’ve been making jokes and having a fun time with his sense of humour at inappropriate moments,” he said.

Rhonda said her father would have loved the butterfly release.

“He was a very mindful person with where he was. He was engaging. I think he would have been right there in the moment watching this,” she said.

juliasacco@niagaranow.com

Julia Sacco, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Lake Report