Like almost all events in 2020, the Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan Memorial Butterfly Release was virtual.  But it’s all systems go for take-off this Saturday at Battle Creek’s Leila Arboretum.

The funds from the event help provide free grief support programs to anyone in our community who is grieving the loss of a loved one, regardless of whether that person died while in our hospice care.

Event organizer Katie Paauwe said they were thankful last year to have an opportunity to celebrate together online, this year’s event feels different. “It’s like we’re coming home again, together with our extended family. We’ve been hearing from so many people this year that due to COVID-19, they missed the opportunity to formally celebrate the lives of their loved ones with funeral services, and the butterfly release is helping to fill that space in their hearts. There is something really special about sharing your grief, your story, and your memories with others. I’m so grateful we can hold this event for our community this year!” said Paauwe.

“Thank you for this incredible opportunity to help heal a little girl’s broken heart.”  -Past Butterfly Release Participant

Participants are encouraged to arrive on Saturday between 9 am and 10 am for registration and the opportunity to meet some HCSWMI staff and volunteers. There is also an optional 1-mile ‘Flutter Walk’ around the arboretum. At 10 am, a short program with a message from a Hospice Chaplain and music from one of the talented music therapists from the agency. During the program, staff and volunteers will read the names of all those we are celebrating and remembering. At the end of the program, families are encouraged to find a special place in the gardens to release their butterflies. Some families share stories, some sing, some pray. “There is laughter; there are tears, and there is also beauty,” said Paauwe.

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”  – Maya Angelou


  • Who: Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan and the whole community
  • What: Butterfly Release & Remember
  • When: Saturday, July 17, 2021, at 9 am
  • Where: Kaleidoscope Garden at Leila Arboretum, 928 W Michigan Ave, Battle Creek
  • Why: Celebrate the life of a loved one with a memorial butterfly release.
  • How: Butterflies are still available; register online by clicking here.

Paauwe said it doesn’t matter if your loved one received hospice services, and it doesn’t matter if you register for a butterfly. “Everyone can come and join us on Saturday morning to watch, witness, and share in the beauty of the butterfly release”.

Butterfly Release Flyer 2021

Since 1981, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan has served the community as a private, non-profit healthcare agency committed to guiding and supporting individuals and caregivers who are coping with illness, aging, dying, and loss. The agency offers comprehensive hospice care, emotional counseling, spiritual support, and other services to the residents of Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Eaton, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren counties.  They are committed to ensuring that care is available to anyone who needs it, no matter the financial barriers.

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