Would You Like to Have a Lasting Memorial?
In the past it was often the case that the grave and headstone formed a memorial, and a place to visit to remember the person who is no longer with us. For those who couldn’t afford a headstone, then a simple plaque or cross would still have significance. In more recent years a bench with a plaque became a different way to remember that person. With more and more people opting to be cremated, and not wishing to have their ashes interred in a graveyard, the options for a memorial have evolved over time.
As I have already mentioned in previous posts, my ashes will go up in a firework. Hopefully one that has a lovely whiz bang noise and lots of beautiful sparkly colour. This isn’t for everyone, we each have our own views and wishes. My Dad’s ashes were scattered in his native Lancashire, but Mum chose not to mark this with a lasting memorial.
It can be a difficult choice, after all, what if you plant a tree and it dies, or place a bench in a public place and it is vandalised? Sadly, grave stones often lie untouched as we move further away with each generation.
My Mum has placed holly each year on my Grandparent’s and Great Grandparent’s graves and my cousin has kindly returned to remove it after Christmas, but this year she has decided that she won’t do it. My Grandma died 71 years ago, and Mum feels that there is no longer a need to visit the cemetery to remember her.
You can now opt to have jewellery made, which includes some of the ashes, or a fingerprint. There are garden ornaments that you can purchase, in which the ashes can be stored. Our daughter was a ballet dancer and has always said that she would like her ashes placed into a pair of ballet shoes. The options are now varied and readily available. Your Funeral Director/Arranger can talk this through with you if you wish.
I don’t have a desire for anyone to place a lasting memorial in my name, but if my family feel the need, then I would like them to arrange for a tree to be planted. I’d rather it was one that was planted but not recorded, in other words, somewhere in a wood. That way they won’t feel the need to visit the specific tree and if it died they could still visit the wood and remember me.
Of course your local Woodland Burial Site will offer memorial trees, but I imagine you would need to be buried, or have your ashes interred there. The Woodland Trust (https://shop.woodlandtrust.org.uk/dedications) offer the option to dedicate a tree, plus lots of other options, as do the National Trust (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hatfield-forest/features/commemorative-trees).
My local forest is the Heart of England Forest (https://www.heartofenglandforest.com/get-involved/dedicate-a-tree/). We often walk through the growing woodland with our dog, so if a tree was planted in my memory then I feel that this would be the most appropriate place, but to be honest as I won’t be here I don’t mind whether I have a tree planted in my name or not, and if I do where it is!
I would be interested to hear your thoughts on a lasting memorial. Would you like one, and if so what form would it take?