Jennifer Beman wants to spend her death where she made her life, in her adopted home town of Takoma Park. Like others who have their cremated remains unofficially scattered in the Maryland city’s back yards and public parks, the 54-year-old likes the ashes-to-ashes idea of lingering eternally in her local ecosystem.
But Beman and a group of like-minded neighbors are going a step further than the kind of DIY ash-tossing that has grown common as cremation rates in the United States have doubled over the past 15 years. They are asking their city to set up the country’s first municipal “scatter garden,” a patch of memorial commons where residents could commingle in the soil of their burg — and where families could return to remember.
“Throwing them in the ocean is very romantic, but then there is no place for a person to go back to,” said Beman, a documentary filmmaker. “You can go with your kids and say, ‘I think it was somewhere around here, but maybe it was on the other side of the island.’ I like the idea of a real place.”