Memorial Butterfly Release

Our Annual Remembrance Event

For the past two years, Holmdel Funeral Home & Woolley-Boglioli Funeral Home have hosted a private butterfly release event to commemorate and honor those individuals served by the firm during the previous twelve months. “People tell us it’s a remarkably healing remembrance event,” shares co-owner Bill Boglioli. “We print and send invitations to the families we’ve cared for during the year and the responses of those who have attended the butterfly release have been very positive.”

What's Involved In Our Annual Butterfly Release?

It’s always held in September, a month when the weather is kind and life slows down just a bit. It’s the time of year when we’re reminded of John Updike’s poem, September. 
In the early hours of a September afternoon, everyone comes together at the Woolley-Boglioli Funeral Home to enjoy conversation and refreshments before the butterfly release takes place. Of course, our guests been in the funeral home before; but this time things are different: everything’s colorful and bright. “Guests aren’t expecting the transformation and it’s really fun to see smiles when there was once only sadness for them here.” 
The next hour or so of relaxed time gives attendees time to connect with one another and helps to create–and even deepen–new relationships.

We always ask Kirsten Kristensen, owner of Tea4U to cater the event and our guests are often amazed by the care Kristen’s staff provides. This is no “self-serve” event; everyone is seated at a table and served as they would be in the Tea4U tea room in Oakhurst. Attendees are given their choice of teas and a selection of tantalizing, delicious scones and petit fours. “In so many ways, Kirsten works magic, changing the feel of the funeral home to one of ease, joy and celebration.”

When conversation and dining slow, Melanie Siano or another Holmdel Funeral Home staff member opens the event by thanking all in attendance for giving Holmdel Funeral Home the opportunity to care for their deceased loved one. An ecumenical service follows. Guests are then escorted to the patio garden and given a small box containing a Painted Lady butterfly. Why a butterfly? There’s deep symbolism which makes a butterfly release so meaningful. For most of us butterflies are symbols of perseverance, rebirth, and transformation. Some see their butterfly as a way to communicate with their deceased loved one; perhaps allowing them to “whisper a wish” in their loved one’s ear.

Each box is opened carefully and–while a presenter shares inspirational thoughts and stories of transformation– the butterfly inside is given a chance to acclimate to its surroundings. In just a short time, guests can witness the joyous liberation of the Painted Lady they’ve been given. The memorial event lasts only about two hours, giving our guests ample time to return home before dark.

Painted Lady Butterflies: Our Emissaries of Love 

“Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life. And everyone deserves a little sunshine.”

So wrote Jeffrey Glassberg, author of A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America and founder of the North American Butterfly Association.

He’s right about two things: seeing a butterfly can make a heart soar in happiness, if only for a moment. And there’s no arguing with his last line: everyone does deserve a little sunshine.

And here at Holmdel Funeral Home, we know one more thing: those mourning a recent death–like the family members invited each year–deserve a meaningful opportunity to come together with others who grieve, in communal celebration of their deceased loved ones. Our annual butterfly release is one such memorial event.

Melanie Siano, the staff member responsible for making these annual memorial events a success, did a lot of research to find the right butterfly for the important task of healing grief. She chose Painted Ladies because they’re small in size but robust. And in choosing Swallowtail Farms as the supplier, Melanie ensured the ethical treatment of these lovely creatures

It's A Private Memorial Event

Our annual butterfly release event is exclusively for those families we’ve served during the previous 12 months. If you’re one such family, you’ll be receiving your personal invitation in plenty of time to send in an RSVP, mark your calendars, and make any necessary transportation arrangements. Of course, if you’ve got any questions about Holmdel Funeral Home’s private memorial event, please call us at (732) 946-3322 or send us an email using the form on our Contact Us page.

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