Loved ones memorialized at Walk to Remember


Photo by Will Huang
Photo by Will Huang

This past Sunday, locals had a chance to memorialize their lost loved ones by releasing a butterfly in their honour.

Bereaved Families of Ontario Midwestern Region held its 17th annual Butterfly Release and Walk to

Remember, where they sold butterflies to be released during a ceremony..

“It just gives people a chance to remember. A lot of the time when you’re grieving you’re afraid people are going to forget and that if you grieve yourself you’re going to forget, and that’s not really the way it goes,” said outreach organizer, Laura Deyell. “It’s about finding a way to remember your loved one and still continue living.”

The day involved face painting and refreshments, followed by the release of butterflies and a walk through the Williamsburg Cemetery in Kitchener.

The ceremony also offered participants an opportunity to post a picture of who they lost as a message on a memory wall.“ We did not really expect this turnout. We had 195 butterflies ordered so we had an idea,” Deyell said. “But I think this is the biggest turnout we’ve had so far, so it’s very exciting to see.”

BFO is a non-profit organization that is made up of bereaved volunteers who aspire to help others through the grieving process. They offer free of charge one-on-one meetings, support groups and annual events such as the Butterfly Walk. The funds raised at the walk went towards BFO in order to help them continue offering support free of charge.

Deyell decided to begin volunteering with the organization in 2008 after the death of her brother. She wanted to support others who were enduring similar loss.

“It’s about a chance to remember and to have a moment to connect with people grieving as well so they know that they are not alone,” she said.

Local resident Tanya Seiling was present at the event and participated in the release and walk.

“I’ve never really done anything like this before,” she said. “So it’s actually really beautiful and great to be here surrounded by other people with smiling faces and knowing you can get through it.”

“I think it’s just important to come together with people who have gone through all our situations differently yet become united to remember our loved ones.”

Although many of the participants have been attending for years, there were several people there for the first time.

“I recently lost my grandmother and she worked for the city. So we got the email to come here so we decided to come out in memory of her,” said first-time participant, Melissa Brito.

“I just think whenever you visit anybody it makes you feel connected and gives you a moment to remind the person that you’re thinking of them, so this really brought a moment of peace.”

According to Deyell, they wanted to remind their participants they do not need to forget their loved ones in order to be happy.

Seiling added, “It’s about looking back after you release the butterfly and not thinking about the sad moments, but thinking about the freedom.”

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