Sydney Morton The Nicholson family release butterflies in honour of Russia Nicholson.

Kelowna families honour the dead by releasing butterflies

The Nicholson matriarchs release 33 butterflies

The Nicholson family found healing on the wings of 33 butterflies on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

The matriarchs gathered to find closure after losing Russia Nicholson, who was five months pregnant when she was murdered in October last year.

“We are trying to do something positive with her memory today, and it was a very tragic time for us,” Megan Nicholson, Russia’s cousin said.

“We are trying to make good memories together while we honour her, instead of coming together in sad times to remember her we want to come together for a happy time to honour her.”

“It’s a start in a long process to get any kind of comfort in what happened,” Nicholson said.

Five-hundred butterflies were released during the sixth annual Butterfly Effect hosted by the Central Okanagan Hospice Association.

Hundreds of people released butterflies at Falcon Ridge Farms in honour of their loved ones that have died.

All proceeds for the event will go to COHA that provides support for those dying or grieving by trained volunteers and professional counsellors for free throughout the Central Okanagan.

“The butterfly effect is an opportunity for people to come out and remember those who have touched their lives that have died,” Natasha Girard, executive director if COHA said.

“It’s an opportunity to gather with friends and family and share the release of the butterflies into nature. Through talking about death and dying the stigma is going away, we need to normalize (these conversations) because it will affect all of us one day. This is a step forward.”

Related:More than $270,000 raised for Kelowna-based hospice

The Wotherspoon sisters

Sachelle and Kaisia lost their sister in 2007 to cancer. They are attending the event for a third time to honour their loss.

“It’s just something nice to do, we get together and it feels good,” Sachelle said.

The women say the tradition brings their family together and they are able to find solace through each other.

“We always just let the butterfly do its thing and we focus on her,” Kaisia said.

Therese and Bill Coates

In memory of family members they have lost in the past to cancer and two this year to old age, the couple praised the sunshine for the perfect day to reminisce.

“As I am walking it is such a nice time to reflect on their lives, it’s a very positive moment for us,” Therese said.

Edna Terbasket and Mark Gibbons

Attending the event for the first time the pair did not release butterflies, instead they are grieving by walking the grounds.

“I am honouring my grandson Joshua Dubrett,” Terbasket said.

“It happened quickly I was told there was no suffering for him, but he was taken too soon.”

Joshua died in November in a car crash on Highway 97.

“Recently I have lost a lot of people from addiction and I am here to support Edna and everyone here actually,” Gibbons said.

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