May 2016  Newsletter


    May is complete, flowers and trees are in bloom everywhere and we celebrated Memorial Day, turning our thoughts to memories of loved ones.   

 There are so many ways to remember our them… simple or complex, inexpensive or elaborate, annually, just once or when you feel like it.  Ritual is one of many healing tools – and it can make memorials that much richer. Our feature article this month touches on memorials.

Wishing you happy, positive memories… and the ability to let go of other types.

Supporting your journey to a New Normal,   


President & Executive Director,
A Butterfly’s Journey

PS. Please forward this newsletter or the ABJ site to help others.  A complimentary 30-minute healing chat with me may also be scheduled HERE.



Memorial Day – How To Remember Loved Ones?


     Is there a right or wrong way to remember lost loved ones?

          Is Ritual a useful part of that?
                 Do you remember the pain or the positive memories?


IMG_2521      While Memorial Day was created to remember the brave men and women in our military that were lost in battle, it tends to make us think of any of our lost loved ones, and possible even honor them in some way.

      There is no right or wrong here – only your way for  your loved ones and what you are comfortable with or what they would have liked.  Others’ opinions do not count.  Do what feels right.

      Ritual is often helpful when remembering someone.  Plant a tree. Put flowers on the grave. Hold a spiritual or religious ceremony. Light a candle.  Go someplace they loved.  Sit on their grave and eat a meal, talking to them.  Release a live butterfly or a balloon with a message.  Celebrate their birthday. Tell a story.  Post some photos of them. Make their favorite meal. Run a race.  Help someone in memory of them.

FullSizeRender-1     Whatever you do, do it when meaningful to you – on Memorial Day, on their birthday, or on your birthday.  On a holiday.  On the anniversary of their death (their “angel-versary”).  Annually… anytime… or even just once.

      I’ve done many things, maybe all of the above, in memory of my son Brent, his brother Robbie, and my parents.   It changes year to year with time and my mood, and that’s OK.  Sometimes I just sit quietly for awhile and try to feel them around me.  Sometimes it works.  Meditation is helpful, especially if done regularly.

      As a frequent social media user, now I post things online with photos as a tribute on significant dates. It makes me feel closer to them, to see the pictures again, to post them and say something about them. There is some sadness that creeps in but it’s mostly positive memories and feelings now — so grateful that I got to know them for as long as I did, to share experiences with them, to still feel their presence. I love telling stories about them and it makes me feel good when others comment or send their love.  It’s a nice way to share them, the funny parts, the good parts.  Everyone has some of that to share, regardless of what they went through or how they died. All of our loved ones had something special or  unique.

      There is a lot of ritual around Memorial Day.  Why not make some of that yours with your loved one, even if they didn’t serve in the military?  Ritual makes you feel connected, it feels good… even when it’s a little sad.

      Remember the good things, the funny things…  the love.  Let go of the unpleasant things.  They are done.Forgive.  Apologize.  Let go. Write it down and burn it to release it.

My remaining son is getting married in just over two weeks.  His older brother would have been his Best Man, maybe he still is.  He didn’t choose one, just groomsmen.  But we toasted Brent on his ‘angel-versary’ and will again at his brother’s wedding, cherishing  many happy memories.

      Do a celebration of life on Memorial Days or surrounding any ritual.  It’s healing.  

      Hope you had a lovely Memorial Day weekend and wising you a great kickoff to summer… with love and hope…



Other ABJ written Blogs in June:


ABJ Video Blog Series:








   What’s ABJ up to ???


What we were up to in May 2016:

  • Sponsored NERSC – New England Resource Service Coord Conf – CT
  • Held TCF of Grtr Newburyport Memorial – Plum Island Lighthouse
  • Held May TCF Chapter Support Meeting
  • Participated in Newburyport Writers’ Author’s Booth at Maritime Days
  • Online Interview with Bambi Thompson – Stress & Energy Expert
  • Held 50/50 Raffle at Dolphin & Uncle Eddie’s In Salisbury Beach, MA

Coming June 2016:

  • Continued work as a co-author and contributor on “Grief Diaries”
  • Planned Boston radio station interview
  • 50/50 Raffle fundraiser at the Plum Island Beachcoma (the entire month)
  • My son Brad’s wedding to his fiance Kim-Soo!  :-)  Saturday 6/18
  • The usual mentoring, writing projects, board meeting & fundraising…
    • but this month will have a bigger-than-usual personal activity slant

Coming July 2016: 

  • Planned BLAB interview & webinar with Connect-2-Coach 
  • Planning a summer day retreat in Lunenberg, MA
  • Meeting in Atlanta re: co-development of online class on LOSS
  • TCF National Conference – July 8-10, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Crowdfunding campaign research & selection, grant applications

Q2 2016 and beyond:  (subject to change)

  • Photo Shoot on Bereavement Weekend Cruise to the Bahamas  (Sept)
  • Planned “Hike to Heal” with Brandy Sales/Wecast Productions – (Oct)
  • Planned themed webinar & events in Q3 & Q4
  • Planned in-depth interview with Connect-2-Coach
  • Planned Feb’17 Photo Shoot on Seminars-at-Sea Bereavement Cruise



Grief Diaries (GD) is a ground-breaking series of books dedicated to delving into life’s hidden experiences. By compiling a collection of stories about the same journey, it sheds insight and promotes better understanding while offering support to those who walk the same path.

 Creator of Grief Diaries, Lynda Cheldelin Fell is an international bestselling author, radio and film producer, and inspirational visionary who is passionately dedicated to serving those struggling with life’s challenges. 

ABJ’s Barbara J Hopkinson is a co-author of the GD title “Will We Survive…  Parenting & Marriage After Losing a Child.” due out in October, 2016 and a contributor to several other Grief Diaries


Our Story 

A Butterfly’s Journey (ABJ) has a mission to help individuals and families struggling with grief after the loss of a child, or other early loss, to find hope and a new normal. We do that through events, grief recovery classes, a comprehensive online Resource Center, and our photo shoots to allow grievers to express themselves simply, visually and emotionally to spark discussion. We also provide assistance to other organizations through education and resources. 

Barbara J Hopkinson, ABJ Founder, President & Executive Director has lost 3 children and led bereaved families through the journey of grief for more than 12 years.  She founded and leads a chapter of The Compassionate Friends, as well as A Butterfly’s Journey To A New Normal. She is certified Grief Recovery Specialist and author of two books “A Butterfly’s Journey” & “FAITH – Vol.II”



For more information, visit the ABJ web site   

Contact Barbara at 617-410-6309  or for a complimentary 30-minute conversation or schedule it now HERE.   

If you found this blog to be helpful, or know someone it would help, please SHARE and be sure to LIKE/Follow us – Thank you! 


 Please consider helping grievers with a donation.


Thank you!



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Barbara Hopkinson PO Box 872 Newburyport, Massachusetts 01950 United States (617) 410-6309

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