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Letting go of grief at Bradford's first butterfly release event (6 photos)

It was a day of remembering and letting go on Sunday at the Butterfly Release event hosted by Cynthia Breadner at Holland Gardens Retirement Residence.

It was a day of remembering and letting go on Sunday at the Butterfly Release event held at Holland Gardens Retirement Residence. 

Bradford resident and spiritual entrepreneur, Cynthia Breadner is a grief and loss partner and works with people to break through the losses in their lives. She decided to host the event as part of her mission to help others deal with grief and bereavement. 

Breadner refers to a quote from French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin:

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

She says she wanted to awaken that spirit with the release of butterflies. 

“Our culture and context is such that it requires people to shelve their spirit,” she said. 

“By stopping and doing something as wonderful as releasing a butterfly, we see beauty and we take the time to witness frailty."

The event was free and open to the public, with donations being welcomed to the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation and local park, Scanlon Creek. Breadner is a lover or all things nature and wanted to give back and support a local park in the community. 

Cheryl Taylor, Executive Director for the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation was in attendance and was delighted to take part in the release and show her support. 

“There’s a real connection between nature and mental and physical health,” she said. 

As guests entered the theatre room in the residence, they were invited to write down the name of someone who they wanted to honour during the butterfly release. Some didn’t put names, but rather listed feelings they wanted to let go of.

Before releasing the butterflies, Breadner spoke to the group about grief and loss, explaining how the act of releasing butterflies is therapeutic in letting go of emotions and feelings of negativity. 

“We always think of loss, grief and bereavement as a death in the family, when we have a death in our lives everyday, we lose a job, a relationship breaks down, a child disappoints us,” she explained. 

The group was then led to the backyard under the white gazebo where the boxes of butterflies were distributed to the group. Breander laid out slices of oranges on a table for the butterflies, as she noted they are fond of the fruit. 

Breadner said she hopes the butterflies released at the event would eventually make their way to Scanlon Creek.

After the release, guests were invited back to the kitchen to share some cake that was donated by local bakery Sweet B’s.

To get in touch with Breadner and learn more about her spiritual programs, send her an email at or search #breakingstibah on social media to see what other projects she has coming up. 

Natasha Philpott

About the Author: Natasha Philpott

Natasha is BradfordToday's Community Editor. She graduated from the Media Studies program at The University of Guelph-Humber. She lives in Bradford with her husband, two boys and two cats
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