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Honoring Heartland’s Patients: Butterflies in the Garden

Heartland’s mission is to enrich lives. Through Heartland’s bereavement programs, our employees strive to support our grieving families as well as celebrate the lives of the patients we have been honored to serve. Heartland Hospice Services in Mason, Michigan, recently held a memorial celebration to honor the lives served through their agency. Here is the story of their event:

“Mason Hospice is proud to share the story of our first annual butterfly release memorial service, which took place under a cloudless, blue sky on September 3rd 2013. “Butterflies in the Garden,” organized by our Bereavement Coordinator, Justin St. Charles, was a tribute to all the patients that we have lost on our service over the last year. However, anyone who attended was invited to release a butterfly in memory of someone that they loved and lost throughout their lifetime."
“We wanted to create a day to give back to the families that have entrusted us with their loved ones, and honor our patients that have allowed us the distinct privilege of caring for them during their final days. We needed a way to illustrate that, although it is our duty to enrich the lives of our patients, it is they who truly fulfill us."
“A small group of Heartland staff read the names of all the individuals that have died on our service over the last year. After all the names were read, and a moment of silence observed, we released the butterflies into the air. What was surprising and quite magical about the day is that so many of the butterflies lingered after being allowed to fly away. Some even remained in the hands of the families until the exact moment they were ready to leave. It was truly breathtaking to witness."
“We had over 100 family, friends, and Heartland staff share in the ceremony, and after the service, which was presided over by our Chaplain of thirteen years, Steve Ezop, we all visited with refreshments and dessert. It was a day to celebrate life, and spend some time with all the people that make coming to work at Heartland so gratifying. We have no doubt that Mason’s “Butterflies in the Garden” event will grow to be even larger and more beautiful in the years to come.”
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