When a loved one passes, it is certainly natural to go through a period of mourning. However, after attending to an eco-friendly burial, it’s worth considering how you can move forward in honoring the memory of your loved one who has passed. Many people are embracing a ‘celebration of life’ as an event that focuses on joyful memories rather than the pain of loss.
This isn’t about ignoring the difficult emotions surrounding death. Finding meaningful ways to celebrate life can boost your mental health during the grieving process. You get to spend time with others, sharing precious memories about the joy the departed brought to the world. You’ll explore not how much you lose from their absence but what you continue to gain from the time you spent together. This can improve your perspectives on the situation and give you a mood boost at this challenging time.
It can be even more impactful to find ways to celebrate life that are more environmentally sustainable. It’s not just an ethical responsibility, but it also ensures your tribute to your lost loved one is holistically positive. Let’s look at some tips to hosting a sustainable celebration of life.
Consider Your VenueYour choice of venue isn’t just an opportunity to select a location that best reflects the life person whose life you’re celebrating. It can also make a significant difference in how thoughtfully sustainable the event can be.
Instead of simply booking a space for your celebration, it’s worth considering areas you already have access to. A family home, particularly with a backyard can be a great choice. It also gives you full control over the energy used and the recyclable decorations you implement. Importantly, this approach can be more meaningful as there can be a more intimate and family-oriented atmosphere.
If you’re working with a local, green burial ground, they may offer options for hosting a celebration of life on site as well. For a list of GBC certified locations in your area, you can visit https://www.greenburialcouncil.org/cemeteries.html.
Embrace Sustainable Creativity
Creating art is a wonderful way to bring memorialization and release to those in mourning. An interactive and sustainable idea to help invitees express emotion is to set out an area with paints made from natural earth, air-drying clay, and recycled paper.
If children are attending, perhaps provide organic eco-crayons made from plant-based waxes. Encourage attendees to get together and create tributes to your departed loved one or create a sculpture that embodies what this person represented in life.
Identify Green Memorial Elements
Eco-friendly Art Table
In most cases, a celebration of life event will occur after the green burial has been completed. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the most meaningful part of the process is over. Many people find it comforting to include a memorial element in the celebration of life. In some ways, this provides a focal point for the event, around which other aspects are scheduled around.
Plant a Tree
An increasingly popular form of sustainable memorialization at the moment is planting trees or plants. This may be a single tree specifically dedicated to your loved one, or the placing of seeds by all attendees. This is often most sustainable when performed in a public space, such as a forest, where the flora can continue to support a wider ecosystem for generations to come. Be mindful to plant native greenery that doesn’t represent an invasive species.
If you’re looking for something more intimate, planting foliage or a vegetable patch in the family home can also be meaningful, especially if your loved one particularly enjoyed tending their flowers or growing their crops. This is an opportunity for all attendees to meaningfully connect and honor the memory in an impactful and healing manner. And the process can be made more sustainable by choosing local plants and flowers that attract pollinators.
Preparing and planning a celebration of life can be a challenging and overwhelming time. Ensure you’re seeking the proper support you need to get through heavy waves of emotion that may occur with the loss of a loved one. Seek out a grief support group or Death Cafe in your area if you are feeling isolated and need to find like-minded individuals who can relate to the feelings you are experiencing.
About the Author
Sam Bowman is freelance writer and environmental advocate who enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.
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