A Bench for Remembering

Before my dad died, it was important to him to have his (and Mum’s) headstone in place, designed to their specifications. Fortunately, he had the time to make those arrangements, and I think it made his leaving a little easier for him.

from the Village Pier, St. Simons Island, GA

Lately, as I’ve travelled about, I’ve been noticing memorial benches. I first saw them in a Toronto park, part of a commemorative program administered by the City of Toronto Parks Department. You can purchase a hardwood tree for $738, or a bench with a personalized plaque for $2530. I’ve seen these benches while biking the rails-to-trails system here in Nova Scotia, and more recently at the Village Pier Park on St. Simon’s Island, Georgia.

 

There are dozens of these wooden benches scattered around the grounds, in the shade of live oaks or this 100 year-old cedar tree, or in the glorious sunshine, overlooking the ocean out front of the library building. Lots of weddings, and also funerals, are held on this lawn, or in the atrium adjacent to the library. I read most of the plaques, and had to take pictures of some of my favourites. To me, this is a perfect way to honour someone’s life, while providing a beautiful resting place to sit and remember that person (if it’s someone you knew, or just sit and reflect if not). Here are some of the most poignant epitaphs:

Don’t you just love the idea of “Dayclean” – the time before dawn when the world is made fresh again?

If you ever get a chance to sit on one of these benches, maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of these guys, keeping watch over the pier. Have you encountered any interesting memorials in your travels?

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Pelicans on St. Simons Pier