For Jeannine Albert, releasing a butterfly in memory of her husband, Laurent Albert, gives her goosebumps all over.
Laurent Albert died April 23, 2016, of cancer. He spent three and a half months an Maison McCulloch Hospice. He was 83.
She said she talks to him all the time, still.
“I have to,” she said, after she released three butterflies — one for Laurent, one for her brother in law, Pete Larose, and one for her niece, Lise Larose. “We'd been together for more than 60 years, and I miss him so much.”
Jeannine was one of more than 500 people to spend a few hours at Science North on Aug. 19 for the 2018 Desjardins Live Butterfly Release.
Yolanda Thibeault, executive director of the hospice foundation, said more than 400 butterflies were pre-purchased for the event, and even more were sold at the event.
“We have about 500 people here on this beautiful day to express their love for the ones who have passed,” Thibeault said.
This year's event raised about $20,000.
All money raised goes to the Maison McCulloch Hospice to help with operational expenses, as well as for the expansion currently taking place to add another 10 beds.
“We have to raise $1 million in operating costs every year,” Thibeault said. “And, once the expansion is done, we still need to maintain and sustain our operations.”
The butterfly release started with 50 or 60 people, she said, and over the years, as more people use the services of the hospice, it just gets bigger and bigger every year
“This is one of our signature events, but it's an intricate happening, it's low key, and people just really look forward to coming and sharing this special day with their family.”