Butterfly release offers comfort for grieving families

by Dan Holland

Cornerstone of Hope’s annual memorial butterfly release, held June 24, drew almost 500 attendees to a memorial service, after which butterflies – provided onsite for a $20 donation – were released on the property grounds in memory of lost loved ones. The butterflies are symbolic of transformation and beauty, according to the nonprofit’s website.

The grief-counseling center, located at 5905 Brecksville Rd., has provided support groups, professional counseling, summer camps, educational programs, memorial services and spiritual care to families and individuals in need since it’s founding in 2003.

Mark and Christi Tripodi decided to establish the bereavement center after the passing of their three-year old son.

“At the time, we really struggled in finding services to help us through the grief process,” explained Christi. “I felt like God let us know that those roadblocks were meant for us to do something with it. He put the pieces together and allowed us to meet the right people to begin the journey, and that was when we decided that there needed to be a place for grieving families to go.”

The 45-minute-long program included a number of guest speakers, an opening and closing prayer, two songs – “Let There Be Peace on Earth” and “River Song” – performed by The Singing Angels, and the reading of 275 names of deceased persons from families affiliated with the program. Dozens of volunteers help organize and run the annual event, with planning beginning early in the year.

Providing support and services to families that have experienced loss is a central component of the center’s overall mission.

“We needed more services for people to remember and honor the names of their loved ones,” Christi said. “To know that they’re not alone, and that we are the legacy of those that we love; to carry their spirit on and all the good that they gave us. Through that pain, there is so much good we can do in the world to be a light in the darkness for others who are going to go through it.” ∞

Photo (2): The butterflies are meant to represent transformation and beauty.

Photo (1): Families watch as they release their butterflies on the Cornerstone property. Photos by D. Holland.