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Falling in love and spending eternity in Flagstaff

Avoiding end-of-life planning doesn’t make the inevitable go away. Instead, it places this big decision on those we love, often while they’re grieving and under time constraints. Sarah and her husband Tom wanted to make a plan so their children wouldn’t have to do it for them. When they found Better Place Forests Flagstaff it was the obvious choice. “That's where we met, that's where we fell in love, and that's where we ultimately want to spend forever,” said Sarah. 

Learn more about their love story, why they started end-of-life planning in their 30’s, and how having a memorial tree has put their minds at ease.  

Coming back to Flagstaff

Sarah and Tom aren’t strangers to Flagstaff, Arizona. In fact, it’s where the two first met and fell in love over a decade ago. “Flagstaff has a very special place in our hearts. That's where our story as a family began,” The two first met while attending Northern Arizona University and working on the college newspaper at the School of Communications. “It's always been a very important place for us and we still celebrate all of our anniversaries there,” said Sarah.

When Sarah and Tom found Better Place Forests Flagstaff it felt serendipitous. Not only did the idea of returning to the earth comfort them, but where better to complete their love story than the place it first began? Additionally, Sarah finds comfort in her son someday returning to the place where his parents met. “I don't know exactly how much he grasped at four years old, but I did tell him that we're going to go see a tree that we've purchased for our family. And that even though it's hopefully a long way off, that's where mom and dad will be,” said Sarah. 

Sarah, Tom & Family

Finding a better final resting place 

Sarah first began thinking about her own end-of-life plans when confronted by a loved one’s death. Her father, like many, didn’t have end-of-life plans in place when he passed — leaving Sarah to decide his final wishes for him. Having to make his end-of-life decisions, Sarah resolved to never put her children in that position. “Being thrown into end-of-life planning made me start thinking about our own end-of-life plans. It affirmed for me that I wanted to make those decisions for myself and make sure I didn't leave someone else in the same position I was in,” said Sarah. 

Sarah and her husband, Tom, wanted to find a final resting place that resonated with both of them. The two love the outdoors and Flagstaff, so when they found Better Place Forests Flagstaff, it felt like the perfect option for them. Sarah said: “Over the past couple of years, my husband and I have been talking about our end-of-life plans. One day he said, “Hey, I saw this really cool thing where you return to the earth in a peaceful, serene setting.” It really resonated with us. It seemed not only a natural way to return to the earth when you pass, but something that can benefit the planet too.” 

Though they’re younger than most end-of-life planners, only in their 30’s, Sarah and Tom didn’t see the point in holding off on the inevitable. Instead, they chose to be proactive in case anything were to happen to them. “When we purchased our tree, My husband and I both felt like a weight had been lifted. We have a four-year-old son, and even though he's very young and we're still relatively young in our 30s, it's nice to know that this has been taken care of and checked off the list,” Sarah said. 

Sarah isn’t alone in this feeling. In a survey we conducted in 2020, of the people who had made end-of-life plans, 73% described the experience as “productive, reassuring, and positive.” We know that it’s a hard conversation to start, but you’ll be happy that you did it. “You go into the rest of your life with confidence because you have that all settled,” said Sarah.

We were joined by Sarah and two other customers who shared their stories of love, grief, hope — and how it helped them make their end-of-life decisions. You can watch this beautiful conversation below:

Comfort in having a plan

Today, Sarah and Tom rest easier now knowing that they have a plan in place. And though talking about end-of-life plans isn’t always comfortable, Sarah feels that having made this decision allows her to live more fully and in the present. 

“Nobody likes to think of their own mortality. But for us, it was such a relief to just have the plan in place and be able to share that with our loved ones. Now everyone knows that we're set and we won’t be leaving a burden behind for someone else to handle all of that decision-making and payment. It was just a really great feeling. It might be hard to start, but ultimately, you'll feel better if you do it.” - Sarah B., Better Place Forests Flagstaff customer 

Our team is happy to help you plan at any stage of your life. If you’re ready to make your end-of-life plans, schedule a free online forest tour with one of our advisors. 

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