For many having a memorial is an important part of remembering someone special. It’s a place that you can visit and take a moment to remember and reflect. While we offer simple natural memorials in the memorial frames and shelters at our natural burial grounds, we understand some families also like to have something a bit closer to home. If you have decided that you would like to do something special at home or in a place you shared, or maybe even that would like plant a tree or a favourite flower in your garden in memory of someone special this may be something you would like to commemorate with your own personal memorial plaque. UK Memorials have very kindly written a blog for us about the different type of natural memorials families may wish to use for their own personal memorials away from the natural burial ground.
As many of the families that visit our natural burial grounds know we love to reduce, reuse and recycle wherever we can. This includes encouraging locally sourced tributes for our natural burial grounds and we love seeing foraged and handmade floral tributes. Sarah, at our natural burial ground in Pembrokeshire, has made a wreath from foliage that she has foraged with her son Jesse. She wanted to share this with us and how she found the experience of 'making your own wreath'.
How Isabel Thomas is helping children to understand what happens when we die with 'The Fox: A Circle of Life Story'.
We recently heard about a very special book on woman's hour which helps families to talk about death in an open way with children. ‘The Fox: A Circle of Life Story’, written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Daniel Egnéus, helps to answer a really big question that many children will ask at some point, ’what happens when we die?'
The book is not linked to religion or after death beliefs but instead explains the concept of death itself, - “Fox: A Circle of Life Story answers the big scientific question: What happens when we die?” - Bloomsbury.
Families planning a funeral are already having a hard time. Add to this the current restrictions and it just makes it harder. We have heard stories of family bubbles being separated in chairs 2m apart from each other, of funerals taking place in chapels surrounded by COVID notices where families are continually reminded of restrictions such as no singing, and with no hand to hold or arm to comfort one another it just makes a hard time that much harder. It is heart-breaking, especially because we have had such a different experience and heard positive stories including tales of takeaway pizza in the meadow and ice cream to celebrate a life.
We know funerals have to be safe, but they also have to be compassionate and at our natural burial grounds families are finding positive ways to keep funerals personal. However this is also largely due to our wonderful custodians who are working with funeral directors and families to bring personal touches that overcome the ‘Coldness of Covid’. Sally at Bath Natural Burial Meadow is one of these custodians and it has been lovely to hear that her families have been able to plan special and personal funerals. After hearing such heart-breaking stories we thought it might be nice to share some of these.
Funeral gatherings are facing ever-changing restrictions and rules and it is heart-breaking to hear how family groups and household ‘bubbles’ have been separated, unable to offer comforting hugs or a hand to hold at a time they need it the most. We have seen ourselves the no-entry signs, barrier tape, warnings, isolated chairs and one-way systems which add to the bleakness of what is already a distressing situation. We want families to know that it doesn’t have to be this way. Funerals can still be compassionate even amidst the pandemic. At the natural burial meadow at Usk Castle Chase Rosie has been working with families to make sure they can arrange safe, but compassionate funerals.
Stories and thoughts from the Leedam camp.
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