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GALLERY: Celebrating the lives of lost loved ones

Butterflies are a symbol of transformation and one of the most transformative things a person can experience is the death of someone they love.

Giving area residents the chance to commemorate loved ones who have passed on, Nathan Adelson Hospice hosted its 19th Annual Celebration of Life - Live Butterfly Release this past Sunday, April 14 at the Calvada Eye. A small crowd gathered amid the gusty conditions to take part in the moving and solemn ceremony, which culminated in the release of dozens of dainty painted lady butterflies.

Nathan Adelson Hospice Vice President of Quality and Education Anne Patriche welcomed those assembled and thanked them for their attendance before shifting focus to a couple of special people within the nonprofit hospice staff’s ranks who have since passed away.

“All of you today are here to remember someone you have loved and lost and, just like you, Nathan Adelson is celebrating some folks from our team who we’ve lost in the past few years. The first is Dr. William Craig, who was a committed physician in our community for a long time,” Patriche said. “If you knew Dr. Craig, you’ll know he was someone who always went above and beyond.

“The other person we’d like to honor today is a nurse who worked with us… His name was Stan Cuaresma. He loved his patients,” Patriche continued. “And because Stan was from Hawaii, we wanted to talk a little bit about ‘Aloha’ because Stan really embodied the spirit of what ‘Aloha’ is… Aloha means kindness - being expressed with tenderness - unity - expressing yourself with harmony - agreeableness - expressing yourself with pleasantness - humility - being modest - and patience - being expressed with perseverance. If any of you remember Stan, you know that he really did embody the spirit of Aloha, it wasn’t just a greeting to him.”

Nathan Adelson Hospice Chaplain Richard Martin then took to the microphone to impart an inspirational message, telling attendees, “Grief is a difficult journey and the road of grief can be filled with a lot of difficult days and a lot of long nights. I hope that all of you have people around you that you can lean on and I am so thankful that all of you decided to come out today to join us, to lean on each other and the celebrate as a community.

“Know that in the midst of grief, things that once felt normal can suddenly feel strange and unsettled. This is not least of all because we are experiencing them without the core people of our lives,” Martin continued. “When we lose someone crucial to our life, whether it’s a parent, a spouse, a child, a friend or anyone dear to us, we experience separation, and not only the obvious separation from our loved one but separation from the world as we knew it.”

Martin then quoted Maya Angelo, remarking, “‘We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but we rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty’. Grief is like that in a lot of ways… But it’s a road of transformation and healing… and on this journey, the hope is not so much that the grief will go away, but that it will be transformed. That it will become something we can carry with us and love.”

He concluded with a poem titled “A symbol of hope” by an unknown author.

“‘A symbol of hope - a butterfly lights beside us, like a sunbeam, and for a brief moment, its beauty and glory belong to all the world. But then it flies again and though we wish it could have stayed, we feel lucky to have seen it.’ And having seen the light and the love of our loved ones, we come together to celebrate that light and that love, to honor who they were to us and who they were to the world around us,” Martin stated.

Following Martin was fellow chaplain Joe Hyatt, who invited the children in attendance to form a circle on the grass as he read a special story about butterflies, after which each of the triangular boxes holding the butterflies were opened and the beautiful insects were able to spread their wings and fly.

For more information on Nathan Adelson Hospice visit NAH.org

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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