With families to support, jobs to work, and dreams to pursue, life tends to distract one from their own mortality and the limited time it allows them. Even for those who come to accept the realization that they are going to die one day, they can at least take solace in not knowing when or how their end will occur.
But not everyone has that luxury.
There are a good many people who are well aware of when they will leave this Earth. Heart complications, strokes, deadly diseases, and other medical conditions can shorten one’s life span to mere months in some cases. With such a grim reality upon them, the remainder of one’s life can be reduced to the pain and suffering brought on by their affliction.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though.
Hospital staff and hospice care professionals are trained and dedicated to making the last days of ill-fated patients as comfortable as possible. That level of dedication doesn’t stop at death, either.
That devotion and care was certainly on display on August 13th, when the Community Health Professionals of Bryan and Archbold held a Butterfly Memorial Service for those who passed away under their care. A beautiful sunset ceremony Garver Park Rotary Pavilion was filled beyond capacity with people overflowing into the bordering grass. Jack and Amy Brace, of the Bryan United Methodist Church, provided music before and during the service by playing the guitar and flute respectively.
After Mona Sauder, pastor of the Zion Mennonite Church in Wauseon, provided the invocation, Bryan Hospital Nurse Ginny George took to the microphone.
“I just wanted to thank everyone for letting us care for your loved ones and allowing us into your lives.” George emotionally addressed the crowd, a hint of tears welling in her eyes.
Pam Wanemacher, representing Fulton County Health Professionals, and Krista Steiner, serving the same role for Williams County, read the names of dedicated loved ones passed on for their respective counties. Wanemacher read 12 names, while Steiner read 30. Afterward, butterflies were handed out in exchange for a small donation. The boxed insects were then released, with the crowd pausing to admire their beauty and take pictures.
The Braces then performed a powerful rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Attendees stood and recited the words in elegant unity.
Rebecca Short, a hospice professional, concluded the ceremony with a poem.
“Don’t weep at my grave, for I am not there.
I’ve a date with a butterfly to dance in the air.
I’ll be singing in the sunshine, wild and free,
Playing tag with the wind, while I’m waiting for thee.
We are the as the wings of a butterfly,
bound together with the love of God.”
With such a glorious vision of the afterlife, maybe death should be the last of one’s worries.