Connecting Visions is a series of articles to unite dreamers with the people who can make things happen. Some of us have great ideas, and some of us have the ways and means of doing them. This series is about uniting forces and inspiring action for the greater good.
When my father passed away a few years ago, there was an evident divide in how our family viewed death and the afterlife. While we all wholeheartedly believed in a soul reuniting with the creator, some of us went right ahead with planning traditional funeral services and organising the family burial plot, while others felt his memory and legacy should be commemorated in a way that truly represented his unique spark and passion in life.
Compromise was met; we cremated the body and split the ashes.
At Lapeyrouse Cemetery we stood in our black, heavy suits with tear stained faces under blistering hot sun. The small, stark family plot: an 8 x 8 foot wasteland, paint chipped and mossy walls, grave stones of relatives too long passed for us to know or miss, weeds and discarded soft drink bottles scattered around. The gravediggers, hardened men who work tirelessly but without care or sensitivity cleared a small hole for the urn. We prayed and placed a few flowers upon his grave.
None of us have been back since.
Cemeteries are sad places, and Lapeyrouse Cemetery is sad not only for the grief and lost love buried there, but for the dilapidation, abandonment and state of disrepair.
With the remainder of Daddy’s ashes we trekked as a family into one of his favourite wild spaces. It was cool, bamboo music playing as gentle breezes kissed us. Birds sang and nature danced. I remember hues of green and yellow light radiating down through spaces in the canopy, a direct connection from heaven down to us as we hiked and he hiked with us. He was there.
We brought with us a shovel and a Julie mango tree. For any who knew him and his mango obsession or love of nature, there was no greater tribute that we could make in his honour.
We buried his ashes and planted the tree over them. We prayed and we smiled, tickled with a deep knowing and joy for the eternal presence of a loved one gone.
With each breeze that blows its leaves or each insect that feeds on this tree, it carries with it a piece of him. He is one again with Mother Earth.
We visit and we feel him. We will one day share the fruit produced by this tree, as we share in the abundance of wisdom and love he left with us.
I share this with you because for our family this was such a powerful and beautiful experience. It brought us great peace through a very painful time.
A piece of land, accessible and safe; where loved ones’ ashes can be laid to rest, and trees of all varieties planted in their memory. The fee is affordable, whatever that may be to maintain the land and the trees and provide a pleasant space where families and visitors can safely come and be in the presence of their ancestors, Picnicking or playing, or simply reflecting under the shade of those they love.
A forest of our ancestors.
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