Dianne Perry's daughter, Denise Thomson, and son, Rich Perry, with “Mariposa”

Left to Right: Daughter Denise Thomson and son Rich Perry with “Mariposa”

“Mom is incredible.”

Dianne Perry, 79, worked hard to provide for her two children and they wanted to make sure she had a peaceful ending to her life as so much of it wasn’t.

Siblings Denise Thomson and Rich Perry reminisced about their mother as she slept down the hall at Suncoast Hospice’s Mid-Pinellas Care Center in October. She was a vibrant woman who enjoyed life, her family and friends until she broke her hip and began to decline. A print of a painting called “Mariposa” with a butterfly painted by actor and artist Jack Lord was center stage as they spoke about how the well-traveled artwork was important to the family and now would hopefully bring cheer and hope to others.

1975-1977 were years Dianne treasured. She lived with her then-Marine husband and children in Hawaii enjoying the bountiful beauty. It’s when the print was acquired and signed by Lord when the

Artist and actor Jack Lord with Denise Thomson and Rich Perry in Hawaii

Artist and actor Jack Lord with Denise Thomson and Rich Perry in Hawaii.

family visited the “Hawaii Five-0” set.

Dianne’s marriage broke up and the family left Hawaii but “it (Hawaii) stays with you,” said Denise. “I always called it heaven on Earth. The painting reflects her time in Hawaii.” The bright colors of the print reflected their happiness even later as the single mom worked many hours and raised the two on her own. “She’s the bravest and strongest woman I know and will ever know.”

The print moved with Dianne many times, even being driven to Florida by Rich when she finally got to move here, a dream of hers for many years. No matter where she moved it stayed with her, even to Tierra Pines, the nursing center where she was staying following her surgery. There she met Suncoast Hospice Music Therapist Chloe Hill, MT-BC and she played one of Dianne’s favorite Elvis songs “Peace in the Valley.”

As Chloe sang the gospel song, she noticed the bright butterfly print behind Dianne. Butterflies had special meaning for her family as her father passed away when she was young. His hospice experience is the reason she pursued hospice care as a music therapist. And as Chloe sang the song, Denise and Rich noticed the butterfly tattoo on her forearm and took it as a sign that it was time for the print to get a new owner.

When Dianne was moved into the Care Center, the painting moved again. This time it was being donated so that it can brighten a moment for Suncoast Hospice patients and families at the Care Center.

Suncoast Hospice Music Therapist Chloe Hill, MT-BC with “Mariposa”

Suncoast Hospice Music Therapist Chloe Hill, MT-BC with “Mariposa”

“Mom would have wanted us to do this,” said Rich as the siblings talked about the care Mom received as well as themselves, they smiled. “They have treated her like a princess. From how she is gently bathed, brushing her hair and so much more. The true gift to us has been the people who work here.”

“She earned her wings, like the butterfly,” said Rich. “I’m going to miss her.”

Quote from Print

“Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne