Writing on a window inside A-Plus Home Care and Hospice in Orem reads, “if nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.”
That theme was repeated throughout a butterfly release memorial program Wednesday evening as staff and family members of hospice patients who had died in the last year released butterflies in memories of those individuals.
“This is just a way of gaining more closure for these families,” said Wally Marsden, who owns A-Plus Home Care and Hospice in Orem with his wife, Kathy Marsden.
This year, that meant honoring about 50 people with 75 butterflies in a celebration that also included a slideshow presentation of those being honored.
The business invites the families of those who died and staff members to attend the service.
Wally Marsden said children usually enjoy watching the butterflies as they fly off, soar around and land on the families. As people opened the envelopes to release the butterflies, the butterflies unfolded their wings and gingerly lifted their wings up and down a few times before flitting off. Some of the butterflies returned, landing on arms, hands and backs long enough for a quick picture.
But the service doesn’t just help the families heal. It also helps the hospice staff.
“It takes special people to do this job, and they deal with sad situations,” Wally Marsden said.
Teresa Cain, the A-Plus chaplain, called working with the dying the best job she’s ever had.
“It is probably one of the coolest jobs you’ll ever have because you’ll never be closer to God,” Cain said.
She took a moment to talk about the different patients she’s come to know, and another moment to reflect on a death that has hit close to home. Cain knew Kathrynn Shaw, a Maple Mountain High School Student who died in a car crash days before her graduation ceremony.
“Cherish every moment you have with your family and love them,” Cain said.
Becky Nelson, a hospice nurse, spoke to the families about the process of metamorphosis. She compared death to how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. She also honored caregivers.
“People come to love those they serve,” Nelson said.
The business has been doing the butterfly release memorial since 2005. Kathy Marsden said the ceremony brings the families together to show them they’re not alone.
It helps the staff to heal, too.
“We don’t always have closures with some of our patients,” she said.