CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Guests quietly wiped tears from their cheeks at the People’s Hospice Memorial Garden in Clarksburg as nearly 250 names of those who lost their battle with illness were read.
Hospice held a memorial service and butterfly release Thursday, at which friends and family honored their lost loved ones by releasing butterflies as a symbol of freedom and peace.
“We use the butterfly to symbolize the freedom from pain that some of our patients may have had during the course of their treatment,” said Linda Carte, director of People’s Hospice.
“Freedom from sorrow — the people that are attending here tonight missing their loved ones.”
While many of the guests were hospice families, not all of those honored were former patients.
“We open this up to the community and let people come out and just enjoy the garden and think about the happy memories that they’ve had of the people who made such a significant contribution to their life that they want to come and either honor or memorialize them today,” Carte said.
Butterflies cost $10, and the proceeds will be used to offset the cost of hospice services for future patients.
After they are released, the butterflies remain in the garden to live off the foliage. They are breeds that can thrive from West Virginia flora, Carte said.