Recently, we came across a beautiful post written by Ben Lee entitled “How Our Dead Family Pet Became A Tree.” In this post written by Ben, he details his and his family’s experience of losing their beloved 13 year old Pekingese, and how they handled the process of what came next, especially with their children. They elected to plant an indoor plant, which was representative of their sweet dog’s nature and demeanor, and so they would be reminded of him whenever they watered it. The most fascinating thing to us was to see how Ben chose to teach his children about the cycle-of-life, and death in a positive and engaging way, thus removing the taboo that so often accompanies it.
Here’s Ben’s story:
Our 13 year old Pekingese “Popup” died a couple of weeks ago. While she was very old, it still came as a shock, and has been something we have needed to continually process together as a family. I decided to purchase a “Bios Urn” to help teach my daughter and her friends about the cycle of life, and as a way of creating a sense of closure for our family. It is recommended to plant seeds in the Bios Urn on top of the ashes, mixed with soil, but we decided to get a baby plant instead. We chose an indoor plant, something domestic and cosy, as it felt like a good representation of Popup’s personality/character.
It was healing and almost…”fun” setting up for the memorial ceremony as a family. We printed out some photos of Popup to display and created a sweet space to host our guests. My daughter invited her closest friends, and we invited a few neighbors. When everyone was here I read a short prayer aloud. Then we took turns sharing memories and stories about Popup. The kids were so sweet sharing their funny and silly memories of our old dog.
Once this was complete, my daughter poured Popup’s ashes into the Bio Urn and then added the plant on top. The kids and adults took turns adding water and saying goodbye. I explained that in nature, there are no endings. Everything moves in cycles and this was our way of allowing Popup to continue to be part of nature, in a new way. As the ritual finished, we felt a calm descend on the group. It was a beautiful ceremony and I think the reality of our loss sunk in a little further.
The cycle continues…
Interestingly enough, we’ve noticed many individuals who have pets that have passed on, have chosen to keep them as indoor trees for a time, as it brings a sense of comfort in the familiar sight. We think Ben’s own interpretation of death is very healthy and beautiful, and by processing it in such a wonderful way, he is teaching his children a healthy way to process it as well.
Thank you for sharing your story with us Ben!
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