Learning @ Lakewood
Maybe consider cremation?
By Sophie Tiahnybik
Lakewood Cemetery may not seem like a setting in which to have thoughtful, curious events, but this weekend was different. It can be quite a shocking experience to enjoy such a traditionally somber place, but with the help of these thoughtfully curated events and lectures, it wasn’t hard. In their Learning @ Lakewood series, speakers take on rather taboo topics such as death, burial, cremation, grief, and remembering, and open them up to the public to discuss. By giving some knowledge, support, and genuine curiosity to these ideas, they have created something powerful and useful to everyone.
The Considering Cremation event was rather small, and there were a few speakers who took us through the process of cremation, the pros and cons, and a tour of some of their facilities. Lakewood does about 1,400 cremations a year. One of the speakers noted that more than half of Americans want or are interested in cremations. Dare I say it’s a hot topic… However, not only is cremation more space efficient, it also allows your loved ones to legitimately take you along after you have passed on. Bodies can even be turned into special things such as plants, jewelry, or even fireworks.
Not to mention, Lakewood Cemetery’s grounds were absolutely gorgeous. The crypt, a building where they hold cremated remains in beautiful marble drawers, is similar to a modern museum. Even though this event was held on an exceptionally dreary and rainy morning, the luscious green grass and grandiose oak trees were bewildering all the same. It’s easily a lovely place to remember someone you loved.
The speakers ended the event with some ideas on death. They noted how it was important for all of us to be there, acknowledging our fate in this world. It was quite clear that everyone in the room was acutely aware of death. This may have been because they were all chronologically closer to death in a perfect world (most in attendance were much older than me). However, death is all around us, and no one knows when that magic moment of ceasing to exist will occur. I couldn’t help but leave this event feeling weirdly supported and calm about the future. Learn @ Lakewood has more events like this one with varying subject matters including Mediation on Embracing Death and Dying and Winter Solstice Tea Ceremony and Grief Circle.