GOING THE EXTRA MILE SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO
At a “Creating an Environmentally Friendly Death” workshop one of the participants wanted a green burial but was having a hard time finding a place nearby that would honor her wishes. To her, it didn’t make sense to add the carbon footprint of a long distance trip to have that option. She told me,
“Green means local.”
After class, I did some searching in her area. Less than a mile from her home I was able to find a few green burial plots in a city-owned hybrid cemetery. Within a few weeks she had contacted the cemetery and purchased a plot. Now she has a headstone in place, too.
ON THE SAME PAGE
I was working with an author, a total bibliophile, to find creative funeral touches that would express their passion for the page. They had books everywhere in their home – even a small bookshelf in the bathroom. I asked if there was a book that had had a big impact in their life, something that had made them who they were. Wide-eyed they replied,
“Yes, THE book.”
For the next ten minutes I heard all about THE book that changed and guided their lives. I suggested that one way to allow those values and morals from the book to live on would be to give a copy to every person who attends their funeral. They were thrilled by the idea. We added a book fund to their funeral and financial plan in order to purchase multiple copies of the book. Now everyone will be moved by the same pages.
GEARED TO YOUR VALUES
A client and I were working together on his wishes for his body disposition. He really didn’t want to be buried because he has enough claustrophobia to make that feel creepy. He also didn’t want to be cremated. Said the idea of being “burned up” just felt wrong. Exasperated he said, “I’ll just donate my body and let the doctors play with me.” We laughed about that. Then I made the connection. You see he loves to restore cars. He has owned many cars and made a few rat rods.
A true gear head.
I told him about a body donation program at a Detroit-based university, part of their automobile safety program. It allows people to donate their bodies to be crash test cadavers. His eyes opened wide in excitement. He loved it! And while you and I would likely not want to be flung against a wall in a speeding car after we die, for him – it was perfect. And yep, he has signed up.
DEATH IN BLOOM
So many of my clients tell me they want a tree to grow from them after they die. “Plant a tree on me” they exclaim. This client was a little different. You see, she has a collection of rose bushes, carefully tended for decades. It is her wish that her cremains be scattered on her rose bushes.
She was a dedicated gardener. So after asking, I shared info on the chemical composition of cremains. Turns out, our bones are alkaline and salty to rose bushes – actually they are harmful to most plants, especially when buried all together. They don’t adapt into the natural environment. They stay the same. I mentioned a company to her that creates an organic mixture to reduce the high pH and salinity of cremains specifically. She loved that it could provide a “nourishing” environment for growth, which was her goal. She was also crafty enough to create her own soil supplement recipe which she included in her written wishes.