For as long as I can remember I have been totally creeped out at the thought of cemeteries and my body being buried.  My family has a generational tradition of placing flowers on family member’s gravestones each Memorial Day.  As a little kid, I would dread it but knew that the donut at the end of the planting would make it worth it.

It isn’t that I am opposed to death because I am not.  I am completely okay with the process of death and find it to be a beautiful experience.  It is the burying part.  I have been very vocal that when I die I want my ashes to be spread in my favorite hiking spots and not my body buried.  My opinion about burying a body has been voiced over and over, and I realize now almost to the point of sounded far too harsh for those who do choose this.

Again, I have found that it is those strongly voiced opinions, and perhaps even judgments, that come back in a strong ah-ha teachable moment.

Across the street from one of my facilities is a century old cemetery.  It is beautiful and expansive with rolling hills and old, old trees. Each week I have a break in my day when the clients each lunch and I have about an hour to myself.  Leading up to my recent hip surgery I had a commitment to walk twice a day to prepare my mind, body and spirit.

During these silent walks where the peace is palpable, I have witnessed the tender care of an elderly spouse tending to his beloved’s grave.   have watched burials and the sacred ceremony.  I have seen wind chimes and toys left for the babies who have been taken too soon.  I have spent time in the section reserved only for priests.  I have discovered graves from 1895. I have stored hundreds of names in my mind.  I have even stumbled upon my grandparents!

I have come to absolutely love my time in the cemetery and I have had a complete shift in my opinion regarding what happens to my body when I die.  I have not changed my post-death wishes entirely, but I have decided that the sacred act of burying my ashes with a memorial headstone is exactly what my soul wants when the time comes.

The symbol of a life well lived and place for my loved ones to come honor.

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