My Death Wish is Green
BY SANDRA TONN | email@example.com
I walked up to the cemetery in Cranberry this morning. I walk there often, for many reasons—the quiet, the old trees and to acknowledge those who have lived and died before me. But I have to admit that I mostly walk there to remind myself that my time will come. It helps me to be grateful for life. Lately, however, as I step into my new role as a Funeral Celebrant in our community, I find myself asking, “Will I be buried here some day?” Good question. My husband and I love living here but do we want to be dead here? Being a nature-lover I’d like to decay naturally and with as little impact on the environment as possible. I recently spoke with Patrick Gisle, owner and funeral director of Stubberfield Funeral Home. He is extremely experienced and very accommodating of people’s unique needs and desires for after-death care, including assisting with home funerals and transportation, and providing “green” (100 percent, organic, unbleached, and fully biodegradable) shrouds and caskets. He explained, however, that if I’m after a “green” option for my remains, cremation isn’t a fit. He told me British Columbia’s crematorium owners don’t have to get emission permits under the provincial Environmental Management Act. Plus, it takes a long time to burn a casket and body—both of which are fos-
CARPE DIEM: The Powell River Regional Cemetery is seeking regulatory approval to establish a green burial section, where wildflowers will grow, according to Regional District Parks and Properties Foreman Shawn Gullette. photo by Sandra Tonn sils fuels, when you think about it. No, I love and value clean air, too much. So, even though I’m not against cremation—it’s a more affordable option for many and the burning of bodies is a long held tradition in many cultures and religions—Patrick is right, it isn’t for me. I already know what I really want— what my true death wish is. I want a full green burial in the community I love. No embalming, to be wrapped by my loved ones in a shroud, and for them to participate in placing me into the earth and filling in my grave where my remains will feed and influence the nature around
and above. This wish may sound New Age, but it’s actually quite, well, old age. The relatively new practice of chemical embalming, and our willingness to be completely hands-off in our loved one’s after-death care, is partly responsible for our society’s growing death denial. Meanwhile, research shows taking part in a loved one’s after-death care is a significantly helpful and healing part of the grieving process. I had heard that the Powell River Regional Cemetery that I loved so much was not going to offer green burials because there was no interest. I had also been told
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Before Mother Nature Does POWELL RIVER LIVING • april 2016 •
Published on Apr 4, 2016
Powell River Living's April edition looks at the implementation of the Tla'amin Treaty and totem pole carving. There's also a feature about...