Woman raises and releases hundreds of monarch butterflies in honor of late mother in Adams County

MOUNT JOY TWP., ADAMS COUNTY, Pa. -- A woman in Adams County is saving monarch butterflies and says the butterflies are also saving her.

Growing milkweed in her Mount Joy Township backyard, she raised hundreds of the butterflies just this summer.

For Holly Seelig, it's a way to move past the pain of her mother's sudden passing.

Each day, she spends hours in her butterfly sanctuary caring for the fragile creatures, butterflies which have become a big part of her life.

"They'e so tiny and delicate, but they mean so much, and it's very calming," explained Holly Seelig of Mount Joy Township. "You get caught up in so much junk throughout the day, and get your head around so much garbage, it's just not important. When you come home, and have these gentle butterflies, it kind of centers me."

Each time, a monarch butterfly flutters its wings, it's helping Holly Seelig heal.

"I still pick up my phone like I'm going to call her some time, and it just hits you like a ton of bricks," explained Seelig about the loss of her mother.

Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, but doctors were hopeful.

One month later, Holly's best friend was gone.

Soon after though, Holly received a sign, while saying her goodbye's at her mother's funeral... a butterfly.

"I just stuck my hand out, thinking it's just going to fly away, and it crawled onto my finger, and I kinda did one of things and looked at everyone, like 'are you seeing this?!'" she explained.

To Holly, it was a hello from above, and it's stuck with her ever since.

"When you're dealing with something so hard as that, and you get that kind of a sign, it just calms you, and I knew things were okay," explained Seelig.

Now, Holly and her daughter Zoe bond while searching for caterpillars among the milkweed.

"This is usually the spot where we find most of them," explained Seelig.

They keep the caterpillars safe at their Monarch Way Station until it is time to transform into a chrysalis.

Metamorphosis completes, and a butterfly emerges.

Each, a reminder of mom.

"I wish I could talk to her so much even just for 5 minutes right now about all this going on, to just say, 'Mom, you started this.' I wish I could hear her and see what she thinks," said Seelig.

Since Holly started raising butterflies and releasing them, she's been contacted to release butterflies in honor of other peoples' loved ones. She plans on growing more milkweed and expanding her way station next summer.

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