AN ECO-ARTIST BECOMES HER LAST INSTALLATION

Artist Jackie Brookner was a pioneer in the Eco-art movement. All over the world her functioning bio-sculptures clean polluted water. When she died it was without question that she would be laid to rest with a green burial. In Sleepy Hollow Cemetery her last site-specific installation was her own body. Wrapped in an organic cotton shroud, placed on a rustic board and lowered into the ground she loved so much. Her headstone, a simple flat rock engraved with her signature. —Photos by Paulette Pettorino 

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THE SIMPLEST CASKET IS MADE SACRED

While sad that a death has occurred, families are uplifted by Green-Wood Cemetery’s crematory chapels. It’s in these lovely spaces that they can place their hands on the closed casket and say their last goodbyes before the cremation takes place. Kan-Chee Sang’s loving family made color copies and enlargements of family photos, then taped them to her casket as they listened to soft, comforting music. They took their time, cried, shared stories and parted in a way that wasn’t quite possible at the apartment where she’d died in the care of hospice.

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Amy CunninghamComment
JOEL KOVEL'S EARTH-FRIENDLY AND VERY MUSICAL BURIAL

You'd sort of expect the founder of ecosocialism to have a green burial, but you might not expect a beautiful cart, abundant forsythia in blossom, animated but respectful children, a friendly dog, homemade bread, and sacred harp singers from Bread and Puppet, the famous Vermont children's theater.

Dr. Joel Kovel died at age 81 and his family quickly created a music-infused, earth-friendly tribute that won't soon be forgotten by everyone who loved him and was lucky enough to attend. 

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Amy CunninghamComment
CASKET FIT FOR A GREAT NEWSPAPER EDITOR

A great newspaper editor is entitled to a family-decorated casket with newspaper front pages all over it. And the act of lovingly crafting this vessel for cremation became therapeutic for a family blindsided by sudden death. We played Mozart's Requiem in D Minor at the crematory.

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Amy CunninghamComment
GLORIOUS TIBETAN RITUAL AT GREEN-WOOD'S CREMATORY

A three-generation Tibetan family, living in Brooklyn, was interested in giving its ailing grandfather the funeral he was requesting--an authentic Tibetan ritual that would allow the dead man to stay in the bed in the home he died in for at least two days after death--an unusual request to us in the United States, but something that happens all the time in Nepal, Tibet, and India.

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Amy CunninghamComment
HANDS-ON GREEN BURIAL IN THE CATSKILLS

The family of Leon Zuckrow  was fortunate enough to own a plot in a picturesque Jewish cemetery down the road from the old Nevele Resort in the Catskills. And a snow storm was no impediment to what became an incredibly memorable and gorgeously simple funeral service with plenty of hands-on family involvement. Leon now rests next to his beloved first wife Naomi, who died much too soon more than 50 years ago.

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Amy CunninghamComment
OLD FASHIONED FUNERAL IN COBBLE HILL RESIDENCE

Since the late Virginia Pearson had been born in the home where she died in Brooklyn, and since the elegant brownstone, owned by the family for four generations, had been the site of Virginia's grandmother funeral many decades earlier, an open-casket viewing and funeral service in the front parlor seemed the best solution to Virginia's surviving children--Roy, Gina, and Andrew.

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Amy CunninghamComment
MEMORIAL TRIBUTE AT NY SOCIETY FOR ETHICAL CULTURE

A thoughtful adult daughter wanted the right memorial service for her deeply intellectual mom, a outspoken activist and closet poet. We helped her arrange a lovely service for 40 people at the Felix Adler Study of the Manhattan Society for Ethical Culture, 64th Street and Central Park West. Cued classical music, Otis Redding, and a stirring rendition of "This Land is Your Land," as well as some vivid remembrances and butterfly cookies rounded out the service. 

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Amy CunninghamComment
THE RIGHT GOWN FOR A LITTLE ANGEL

No one can understand why some little babies make it, and others don't. We coordinate our infant funerals with the all-volunteer group "Little Angel Gowns," which makes prenatal, stillborn, and tiny infant burial garments out of donated wedding dresses (some with beaded or lace detail). We drove a gown to a family recently and delivered at no fee. Tiny clothes for pre-term deceased babies are hard to find and we are available to help out in sad times.

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Amy CunninghamComment
HOME, AND IN THE PARLOR, FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Fitting Tribute helped a family create an old fashioned home funeral in Queens this past December. The deceased man we were honoring died in a Nassau County hospital and was brought back home, bathed, anointed with essential oils and dressed in a military uniform. By next morning, friends descended to comfort the family, bringing sandwiches, salads, and cakes. We kept soft music going, candles lit in the evening, and accompanied the family on the drive to Green-Wood.

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Amy CunninghamComment
AFTER FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MARRIAGE, ONE LAST NIGHT

Renowned film director William Greaves died in his Manhattan apartment while I was on my way to meet with his wife Louise to complete funeral arrangements. When she greeted me at the door and told me Bill had just died, I hugged her and slowly went inside. He was as dignified and elegant in death as he had been in life, and it was Louise's ultimate request, after we sat and talked awhile, to spend one additional night with Bill's slender body in the apartment with her, in the company of her daughter and brother-in-law there to keep vigil.

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Amy CunninghamComment
A MUSICAL FAREWELL IN GREEN-WOOD'S HISTORIC CHAPEL

Much of this funeral's beauty came from the heartfelt eulogies, and, indeed, the flowers were beautiful, but the music was also especially powerful. Helping you to select music for the service is one of our real passions, and we enjoy engaging our customers in fruitful discussions regarding what kind of music--live or recorded, from classical to old standards,  folk to jazz--they feel would best represent the personality of the deceased, and needs of the family in the moment.

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Amy CunninghamComment