chalk memorial for jack Leighton

We spend a lot of time thinking about how to live our lives in a way that honors our spirits, however you might define the word. But even though some may find it a bit grim, we also find ourselves thinking about how we honor each other in death as well. Sometimes we come across some truly beautiful ways to pay tribute to one another (and ourselves) that switch the focus on death from the sadness of loss to the beauty of memorial.

Take for example the enormous public chalk memorial for Jack Layton, former leader of the Canadian New Democratic Party. Toronto citizens covered the public square in front of city hall with messages for Layton, who passed away last month. While obviously the memorial isn’t permanent – it is as ephemeral as life –  it’s the participatory and collective nature of the tribute that’s most touching and meaningful. It’s something any one of us could do.

We were also intrigued by the idea of some rather interesting biodegradable/ transforming urns for ashes, very different from the usual, homely vessel normally provided. You plant one in the ground, and it grows into a tree or other plant of your choice. (We’ve found two versions: Spiritree and Bios Urn.)

All questions about life after death aside, we can think of nothing more lovely than having a “living memorial” growing in our wake. (Not to mention the fact that it’s good for the environment.)


How would you like to be remembered?


Related posts: quilts as memory-keepers
saying goodbye: jazz funerals and square dances
keeping a dream book