In early March of this year, Edwin Smith (not his real name) died at his winter home in Florida. Edwin was a very well-known antique dealer and florist. Having lived in Columbus, New York, Connecticut and Florida, Edwin was a bit of a rolling stone. The family owns many spaces at Green Lawn cemetery, so Edwin’s sister, who lives in Connecticut, decided that Columbus was just as good a place as any to make his final home.
Edwin had long outlived any friends or family that remained in Columbus, nor was anyone able to travel back to Columbus for a funeral. Edwin’s sister asked that we bury his body at Green Lawn and she would be out later in the summer, after multiple surgeries that she was scheduled to have, to say her final goodbye.
The Schoedinger Midtown Chapel staff decided that Edwin deserved a service as he was laid to rest here in Columbus. Ashley Thacker, having received her certification as a celebrant at the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, volunteered her services, and began to plan a memorial.
I handled the assignment of making all the arrangements by phone and over the course of three phone calls, was able to glean enough information for Ashley to plan a personalized service. Edwin was an avid lover of antiques, flowers and his life partner of 40 years. He loved fashion, helping people decorate their houses, and had an “EXTREME” affinity for Christmas. Edwin spent decades battling prostate cancer, enduring chemo/radiation treatments and multiple surgeries. Edwin had a large circle of friends and colleagues, all whom he held in high esteem.
The morning came for Edwin’s burial and the funeral home was presented with the perfect weather for a graveside service; the sun was shining, the air was crisp and the ground was dry. As we entered Green Lawn Cemetery, Ashley and I pondered how much Edwin would appreciate the beauty of the day, the colorful flowers speckling the cemetery grounds and the rustic uniqueness of Green Lawn itself. Staff from the cemetery and Stuart Vault assisted us in placing the casket and we all stood at Edwin’s side as Ashley began the service.
Ashley shared both scripture and story, as Edwin was a God fearing Episcopalian and weaver of tall tales. Ashley ended the service by planting six flowers in a pot, each one representing a different facet of Edwin’s life — one to represent his love of God; one to represent the love he felt for his lifelong partner; one to represent his love of family and friends; one to represent his battle with cancer; one to represent his passion for all things antique; and one for his talents.
I video recorded the service and sent a copy to his sister in Connecticut. She was extremely surprised and elated that we took it upon ourselves to honor the life of her brother in this way. I have spoken to Edwin’s sister multiple times since the burial, and she comments every time on how wonderfully we took care of her brother. 1,100 miles was no obstacle for a healing experience to be created at Edwin’s final resting place.
Learn more about how we create healing experiences for your family by visiting our website at www. schoedinger.com/what-we-do/honoring-life.