Saturday, June 4, 2011

Blessing of the Animals

Once a year, Evan's work, Silverado, does a blessing of the animals. It involves all the residents, residents' family, staff, staff family, and all their animals to come to the facility and enjoy a blessing. We gather as a community, which is actually what they call it, in the main courtyard under umbrellas and with bottles of frozen water. Nutrition makes homemade treats for the humans and homemade treats for the animals, which are mainly dogs. The Silverado chaplin blesses each animal with a non-denominational blessing and gives them a certificate, hand written at the time, and personalized to the animal.

The part that really makes the festivities to me:
The Butterfly Release

One person from each family, who has lost someone in the last year, is invited into a circle. All families who lost a member of the Silverado community within the last year are invited back for this; however, many more participate. The envelopes in the top picture are handed out. The butterflies are enclosed in those folded pieces of paper. The butterflies are symbolic of how for their weight, butterflies consume the largest amount of food. They eat and eat and eat, much like grief in the beginning of loss. Then it rest, and finally emerges beautiful. Much like grief loses it's bite over time and eventually turns into sweet memories and thoughts of those lost. All the butterflies are released together while the harp music plays in the background.

I participated for the first time this year. In honor of Briana. Although two dogs threatened to eat my butterfly, no joke, it lingered for a significant amount of time. It even nestled on my shirt before it flew away. I thought it was a symbolic remembrance that she would love.

The part that means the most to Kyle:
The Pony Rides

Kyle tells us that he rode a pink pony. Even though Aiden has been running an uncontrollable fever (Thursday night he hit 105.1) and was diagnosed with a double ear infection and eye infection in both eyes---he too had fun with the animals. Don't worry, the doctor told us he wasn't contagious and we had lots of meds and antibiotics in his system. We did not stay long both boys were cranky. But it was a gorgeous day and we all enjoyed it.

Kyle asked me to take a picture of these dogs. There were tons of dogs and both boys were in such heaven. We even petted all the dogs available for adoption. Kyle screamed bloody murder each time he was licked. He does not like that, but still loves dogs. I am not a dog lover at all, but both my boys just love them like crazy. When Aiden was holding my hands standing, a dog came over and licked his mouth, Aiden looked up at me and smiled his crazy tooth smile. He just loves them, even the licking, even the mouth licking :)


Mallory said...

That is sweet about the butterflies. How wonderful. I hope your little one feels better soon double ear infection high fever sounds not fun at all.

kirsten.brooke said...

What a neat idea. I love this. I particularly love the Bri-Butterfly. Very lovely.