Newburyport, MA–September 12, 2013–Barbara J Hopkinson, local author, speaker and facilitator of bereavement groups and programs, will be the guest presenter at Atria Senior Living’s “Butterfly Release and Remembrance” event this month.

The event, which is open to the public, will be held 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 24, at Atria Senior Living’s Merrimack Place on 85 Storey Avenue.

Atria Senior Living’s Nancy Vanbenschoten, community sales director, created the event as “a celebration of life” to help its residents and families honor the loss of friends and loved ones. The event is part of “Active Aging Week.”

The release of live butterflies, which are flown in from California, is a symbolic way to help residents and their families send love to those who have passed on. Hopkinson is a natural choice as a key presenter, Vanbenschoten noted, due to the author’s firsthand insights from losing three children and decade of expertise guiding families through grief as a founder and chapter leader of The Compassionate Friends of Greater Newburyport.

Hopkinson, a Plum Island resident, last month released her book, “A Butterfly’s Journey, ”to rave reviews.

“I want you to know how much your life story touched me. You had me in tears from the hospital and funeral and then throughout the book. I also laughed with you. I enjoyed the honest words and emotions used to tell us your family’s life. I thank – you for being wonderful enough to share such loss with all of us. I must also tell you, I enjoyed the poetry (I am a sucker for poetry!)

Believe it, I liked that you also included your spiritual journey it made me feel SO human. Thank – you for the chapters of great insight and advice.”

~ Margaret Kelly, Merrimac, MA

“We are thrilled Barbara will be sharing with our residents and their families her firsthand expertise at celebrating the lives of those who have passed on by sharing her powerful messages of love and hope,” Vanbenschoten said. “Her works support Atria’s mission of providing environments and programs where older people thrive, where loneliness and isolation are forgotten and where families have confidence that their loved ones are secure and fulfilled.”

During the Atria event, Hopkinson will also provide a reading and recite a poem from her book. Music created for her book, both a theme and a song called “Love Everlasting” will be performed as a prelude by the original songwriter, Nancy Day. The theme can be downloaded free from the book’s website.

Names of residents’ loved ones who passed on will be read by Mary Donovan, executive director of Atria Merrimack Place. A butterfly story will be read by Trish Bean, bereavement counselor at All Care VNA and Hospice.

“Atria believes in the extraordinary potential of older adults and we work to create relevant communities where our residents can thrive and contribute, knowing that their contributions are valued,” Vanbenschoten noted. “We enjoy supporting them living fully, with programs like our butterfly release event.”

Other programs are in development, which will be supported with the help of Billy Jean King, who is now Atria’s first Active Aging Ambassador serving as an advocate for maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle through regular interaction with residents, families and staff.

Hopkinson also has a national virtual support program in development to help bereaved families move through grief. She will be offering complementary “ Return to Life” 30-minute phone consultations starting this month. For more information, contact Hopkinson at: 617-410-6309.


Atria Senior Living is one of the nation’s leading providers of independent living, assisted living and memory care services. Home to more than 14,000 older Americans in 27 states, Atria communities provide respectful, quality services designed to promote independence and help seniors enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle.


Barbara Hopkinson was born in Maine, raised in Massachusetts, and lived several years in New Jersey. A Butterfly’s Journey is her first full-length book, after publishing blogs, articles, and book reviews in the business world. She retired after a successful career in technology sales, including ten years as an IBM executive. One of her passions is travel, having visited more than 40 countries so far. She is a multiple bereaved parent, which inspired her to write about her journey to help others. She founded and continues to lead a local chapter of The Compassionate Friends, an international organization whose mission is to support family after the loss of a child. Barbara has a happy family life with her second husband, James Hopkinson, her remaining son Brad and three adult stepchildren Melanie, Matthew, and Christopher.



Barbara Hopkinson
[email protected]
P.O. Box 872
Newburyport, MA 01950


Gail Jones (Publicist)



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This