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Loved ones remembered at butterfly garden

A steady stream of people throughout the Memorial Day weekend walked through rows of heartfelt written messages to remember their loved ones at the Butterfly Garden of Remembrance, a fundraiser for Hospice of the Foothills in Nevada City.

One of those in attendance was Arlyne Wessels of Grass Valley. Her husband of 40 years, Charles Wessels, died two years ago. With tears in her eyes, Wessels smiled as she spoke of him.

“Thank you for everything you’ve done for me,” was written on her card, posted amid several hundred messages on Hooper and Weaver Mortuary’s Sierra Lawn Cemetery, each laminated and fastened with colorful ribbon onto a butterfly lawn decoration.



“Lovingly, your neighbor” was written on Lisa Bessire’s card, meant to honor Joanne Carr, her Lake Wildwood neighbor of 20 years who died last month.

Carr said she was also making the gesture on behalf of Jim Carr, Joanne Carr’s brother who lives in Denver, Colo., and could not attend. Both of the Carrs’ parents also died in recent years, Bessire said.




“The were just regular neighbors,” she said. “They were always helpful and we helped them.”

Friends of Hospice began setting up the Butterfly Garden of Remem-brance in 2000, and it has become a local Memorial Day weekend tradition, said Hospice of the Foothills volunteer Ann Gates.

Participants send their messages in to Hospice of the Foothills with a $15 donation. Volunteers laminate the cards and post them on the metal butterflies throughout the holiday weekend.

All of the proceeds help Hospice of the Foothills continue its work of caring for patients in their last days, and for families and the community during all phases of loss.

“Some of (the messages) just bring tears to your eyes,” said Carol Lenhard, a hospice volunteer who helped to prepare the display.

Volunteers especially like the cards prepared by children, who often draw on the cards and include pictures of their loved ones.

“She was a good dog,” read one card, dedicated to a pet dog named Sparkle. “Beautiful in every way, she will be missed. I love her.”

To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail rmoormeister@theunion.com or call 477-4236.


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