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Finding an LGBTQ+ inclusive end-of-life option: One couple’s story

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Everyone wants to feel welcomed, supported, and at peace, even in death. For people in the LGBTQ+ community, end-of-life options aren’t always inclusive — which is why it’s important to find an option that celebrates people of all races, religions, and sexual orientations. At Better Place Forests, we’re proud to offer a burial alternative that allows everyone to leave a meaningful legacy for the planet and the people they love.

Read one couple’s story about why they chose Better Place Forests to honor their end-of-life wishes.

One couple shares why they chose Better Place Forests

As Abby and Mary* began making their end-of-life arrangements, they knew it was important to find an LGBTQ-friendly end-of-life option. After the painful experience of having their previous end-of-life plans fall apart, they were seeking a welcoming community where LGBTQ+ inclusion was intentional, not just tolerated. While searching green burial options, they found our website and were excited to see that our Berkshires forest was located close to the towns where they each grew up.

According to Mary, the timing felt serendipitous because she had only begun researching green burial options just weeks before the opening of Better Place Forests Berkshires. As she did more research, she quickly realized that our offering satisfied many of her wishes, such as being a beautiful place where she, her wife, and their pets could spend eternity together.

“Multiple people can have their ashes spread under the same tree, and I like that,” explained Mary. “Better Place Forests welcomes pets, which was something that I was worried about because pets are not allowed in traditional cemeteries. Plus I love trees — I’ve been recycling since the ‘80s!”

Mary and Abby’s desire to share their final resting place with their pets is not uncommon — in fact, many of our customers choose our memorial forests so they can spend eternity with their beloved pets.

Finding solace in nature during end-of-life planning

“My wife and I cried looking at the Better Place Forests website — it’s all so beautiful,” said Mary.

End-of-life planning for Abby and Mary had been stressful before finding Better Place Forests. Once they saw the majesty of the forest and learned that LGBTQ+ memorials were welcomed, they found solace knowing that one day they could share a final resting place together in nature.

“We picked our tree because you could look right down a little valley where a meadow separated the trees so you could see the mountains,” said Abby. “I thought that was so cool. I’ve never wanted to be stuck in a box — I don’t want to be in a cold, gloomy place for eternity.”

Planning ahead provided much-needed peace of mind

“We don’t have children,” said Mary. “It’s just us, so we have to take care of each other. Now when something happens, we won’t have to burden each other — we know we’re just going to the tree. We’re glad we planned ahead because you have fewer options when you wait to do it until you have to. It’s good to know we won’t be scrambling to make burial plans while grieving.”

The comfort in knowing that neither of them will have to make end-of-life decisions after the other dies is only part of the reason they are glad to have finalized their arrangements.

There are legitimate concerns for LGBTQ+ families that they will not be welcomed in traditional settings. Being part of the LGBTQ+ community means knowing there is a painful possibility of being denied service, even today. While it’s upsetting to think that a funeral service provider would turn someone away at such a sensitive time, it does happen, and members of marginalized communities need to ask the right questions early to avoid any heartbreaking surprises later.

Inclusive end-of-life options for everyone

At Better Place Forests, diversity and inclusion is part of the fabric of our company, both internally with our human resource policies and recruiting efforts, and externally with the pleasure we take in welcoming anyone into our forests. Our forest stewards and staff are compassionate to the needs of all our customers and work with you to make sure your final wishes are honored.

In short, we think Mary said it best: “Acceptance doesn’t cost a thing. It’s totally free.”

*Abby and Mary requested to remain anonymous, so their names have been changed.

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