Toward an Eco-Friendly Death

07/08/2009 4:00 AM |

Making Your Own Solace

But that place doesn’t have to be a cemetery. Susan Perloff, a 65-year-old freelance writer based in Pennsylvania, has “always been anti-cemetery.”

“I don’t see cemeteries as being a satisfying place to visit,” she said. “I don’t feel I’m closer to that person than I am in the silence of my heart.”

When she was 24, her father died and was cremated. The family scattered his ashes in Fairmount Park, in Philadelphia, where he had spent happy hours of his childhood and where he later took his daughters to feed the ducks and hop across the creek’s stepping-stones.

“I’d much rather go to the woods and say, ‘I’m here to visit daddy,’” she said. Not the cemetery — that’s where dead people are. When, several years ago, the park offered benches for sale, she and her sister purchased one as a memorial to their father. “I hop on there to sit and talk to him,” she said, adding that since she does not believe in an afterlife, the conversation is all in her head. “Now that’s a place to go for solace. For me.”

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