Odessans Release Butterflies Remembering Loved Ones

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - More than 500 people filled the skies with balloons and butterflies in Odessa on Saturday. The Globe Theater played host to Home Hospice's annual butterfly release.

Each tiny flutter of wings meant much, much more.

These people had paid for their own butterfly to honor lost loved ones with the release.

"It is a really wonderful way to take something that may be bottled up inside and to let just a little piece of it go and it's a healing exercise, something tangible in their hands," Karen Carter, Head of Community Relations with Home Hospice, said.

The event began with a reading of each lost loved one's name.

The meaning of the event was not lost on people like K.C. Orren, who lost multiple family members last year, honoring them with a performance of Josh Groban's "To Where You Are."

"My great grandmother, she was 99 years old and then my grandmother which was my Mom's mother. I know they're in a better place now. I know they're happy and I know they're watching down on me," Orren said. "The words in that song 'To Where You Are', I'm going to be there one day. One day we're going to see each other."

This truly was a community-wide event.

More than 700 butterflies were released in honor of lost loved ones with 100 of the little guys raised by kids from Sam Houston Elementary.

"It starts with the kids in the classroom who raise the caterpillars," Carter said. "We want to introduce the word hospice to families so they are more comfortable with talking about the word and understanding what we do."

Every dollar given for every butterfly went to Home Hospice, which provides end-of-life care to hospice patients.

Everyone at the event described it as therapeutic and as another chance for them to show their love to those they've lost.

"It gives them a visual. It gives them comfort that they can see," Orren said.

"When you release the creature, they'll stay on their shoulder and they'll go: 'I know Dad really needed me today and I feel that he's with me,'" Carter said.