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Hundreds of painted lady butterflies took to the sunny skies on Saturday, June 7, at Sorosis Park, honoring the loss of loved ones for over 150 local residents who attended the sixth annual Heart of Hospice Butterfly Release. The collective grief in the community of The Dalles was especially important to recognize this year. Heart of Hospice staff read the names of the 221 patients who died in the gorge this year, as well as almost 100 names of people and pets that were submitted by those in attendance. Following the reading of the names, there was time to speak the names of loved ones out loud, allowing for healing and remembrance. Jodi Goatcher, Heart of Hospice executive director, said, “The feel and energy at the butterfly release in this community continues to amaze me. It is a real time of reconnecting and celebrating, and there is a sense of family about it. It is truly special.” Individual butterflies were given to every person, and were released at the same time—a symbolic act of communal grief and healing. Contributed photo/

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