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Rain Stops the Butterfly Release in Fairfax
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Rain Stops the Butterfly Release in Fairfax

The memorial event still goes on.

Amy Herrera was at the door explaining why the butterflies will be grounded for the event.

Amy Herrera was at the door explaining why the butterflies will be grounded for the event. Photo by Mike Salmon.

There were more umbrellas than butterflies at the second annual “Butterfly Release Memorial,” due to the rain that’s been the spoiler of many outdoor activities this summer. At Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home on Sunday, Sept. 9, there were a few boxes of “Painted Ladies,” butterflies that were supposed to be released in honor of those that were buried at the cemetery through the years, but it didn’t stop the proceedings.

Amy Herrera greeted some 250 guests at the door under the awning where the food was spread out and the tables set. “We have plan B due to the rain,” she said. There were still questions, like “what is plan B?” one woman asked.

Plan B was the ceremony that was planned, which included a musical trio in the lobby of violinist Judy Thompson, Mark Kapeluck and John Glover on bass, and then an introduction by Herrera, a reading by Terri McDermott, closing comments by Fairfax Memorial General Manager Archer Harmon, and food.

This was the second butterfly release, which was to honor the deceased with the lively, delicate insect. “To memorialize that person,” said Herrera. The memorial park imported the butterflies from a butterfly company in Clearwater, Fla. who raise the butterflies for events like this. The Painted Ladies butterflies fly away, pollinate local plants, and begin their journey to Mexico.

“Today we stand united, our universal experience of loss,” said McDermott in her memorial speech. “Butterflies are powerful symbols,” she said. The reading was a poem by Kirsti A. Dyer called “In Memory of You.” “Perhaps you are the morning bird singing joyfully at sunrise, or the butterfly that dances so carelessly on the breeze,” was one stanza.

Last year, it was 73 degrees and sunny, and that was the idea again, but instead it was in the low sixties, pouring rain and gloomy.

The butterflies could not last long in the boxes though, and Herrera’s plan B included a visit to a nearby elementary school on Monday morning to get some school children to help release the butterflies. She told the crowd at the memorial park that she would get a photo, and send everyone a shot of the butterflies.