Upon learning of a death, we commonly hear requests to respect a family’s privacy during their period of mourning. Yet the period of mourning cannot always be measured by time, and grief can last a lifetime. What is most important is not another’s personal information, but the respect we show one another regarding our private lives. This is also true for those who provide cemetery and funeral services, some of whom have also breached the privacy of mourners. If anyone wants to write about another’s grief or mourning, we recommend that they receive written consent directly from the mourner/s.
People regularly talk of family, but what is it? Who are our family members – and who determines the roles and expectations? There is a lot more flexibility in families than some would allow. When we love and receive love, we find family there. We can accept the love of a dog or cat or horse, shared in their own way. Perhaps we can also learn to accept love from other humans, even if it is expressed in their own way, too.
More people are talking about inclusion these days. It is linked with ideas of diversity. Both have become politically vibrant terms. People tend to define their own families, in private or public. Recognizing that families can be composed of different people and species is becoming widely accepted, after decades (centuries) of struggle. As an inclusive society, we welcome all families, and we promote ideals of inclusion within cemeteries as well.
One of the most beautiful words in the English language, ‘wilderness’ takes us to the source of beauty. Yet societies have had a mixed, sometimes challenging relationship with notions of ‘the wild.’ Wilderness speaks specifically to the freedom of a living Earth – a freedom that ought not be controlled. It resonates with every religion, whose prophets find wisdom in the wilderness. It is where we must also turn to reconnect with life on this planet, even in times of death.