There’s more to funeral innovation than better experiences, even though that is what I am usually harping on. In fact, the seed that led to I Want a Fun Funeral was an exasperating incredulity that funeral homes themselves are still so stodgy looking, uninspiring, and utterly un-celebratory. I fantasized about bright rooms with warm pastel colors, comfy couches, modern furniture, and perhaps a bar.
And then there’s cemeteries.
There’s a cemetery in Littleton, Colorado — Seven Stones Botanical Gardens Cemetery — that just blew the lid off your traditional white-rows-of-headstones setting.
With bountiful and beautiful landscaping and art, it is a life-affirming space. The environment is welcoming, interesting, inviting, and altogether unlike the typical cemetery, in the best possible ways.
They hold yoga sessions on the grounds. They have family-planned life celebrations. They host an annual art, music and nature festival. Gardening workshops. Being part of the community is in their mission. They offer traditional burial as well as green burial, too.
Half of me wants to move to Colorado just so I could be buried there. (Oh wait, I’m donating my body to science, so no gorgeous post-life surroundings for me. It’s a trade-off.)
We need more of this. This melding of life and death, reminding us that death is natural, not to be abhorred, and not spoken of. For those among us who want to be interred somewhere (be it whole body or cremains), and those of us who want to visit those graves or memorial sites — doesn’t an art-filled, creatively-designed, unique and natural setting sound like a bit of bittersweet heaven?
Let’s integrate the beauty of life with the normalcy of mortality.
Places have an exceptional ability to evoke emotions. Here’s to more of this kind of innovation in our goodbye rituals.