Winged healing: butterfly release

Hospice supporters, families and staff gathered in Jackson Park June 7 for the sixth-annual Heart of Hospice butterfly release, something that has become a Hood River tradition.

Clyde Sanda
Hospice supporters, families and staff gathered in Jackson Park June 7 for the sixth-annual Heart of Hospice butterfly release, something that has become a Hood River tradition.

Hundreds of painted lady butterflies took to the sunny skies on Saturday, June 7, honoring the loss of loved ones for over 150 local residents who attended the sixth-annual Heart of Hospice Butterfly Release.

The collective grief in the community of Hood River was especially important to recognize this year. Heart of Hospice staff read the names of the 221 patients who passed in the Gorge this year, as well as almost 100 names of people and pets that were submitted by those in attendance.

Following the reading of the names, there was time to speak the names of loved ones out loud, allowing for healing and remembrance. Jodi Goatcher, Heart of Hospice executive director, said, “The feel and energy at the butterfly release in this community continues to amaze me. It is a real time of reconnecting and celebrating, and there is a sense of family about it. It is truly special.”

Individual butterflies were given to every person, and all 150 were released at the same time — a symbolic act of communal grief and healing. Many of the butterflies decided to land on a person, and many people had a butterfly in their hand or perched on a finger. This interaction brought tears of joy and smiles, and was a unique moment that truly helps people to heal.

Seeing the families of patients at the event is always a highlight for us at Heart of Hospice, according to Goatcher. She said, “We are always amazed by the outpouring of support for our care that we see from the Hood River community.”

Over the years, Heart of Hospice has served hundreds of families in Hood River and the surrounding area. Through the care of the patient, our staff creates a relationship with the family, and the butterfly release offers a true family reunion, complete with stories, laughter, hugs and tears.

“We at Heart of Hospice extend a loving thank you to the people of Hood River for the support of the butterfly release. The chances to grieve, remember and honor our loved ones that have passed together as a community are a wonderful experience for every one of us.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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