Meet Nadine & Ronald
From their home in Johns Landing, Nadine and Ronald Thaheld can see the treetops at River View Cemetery. "The view up there is so gorgeous," Nadine says, "Ronald wants to be buried with binoculars."
Nadine and Ronald are among the forward-thinkers who have pre-planned their funeral and burial arrangements with River View. With their adult children spread across three states, they wanted to relieve them of the burden of guessing about their parents' end-of-life wishes. When they read an article in the newspaper about River View's new natural burial program, it seemed like a perfect fit.
Both 79, the couple have dedicated their lives to public service. "I'm upset about global warming and didn't want to add to it," says Nadine. "We're both concerned about why we're adding so many chemicals to the world, and we didn't want the cement vaults that my mother and father had. There might be some minerals in my body that would be of value to the earth - why burn them up in cremation? It's a waste of resources."
"We wanted to keep it simple," Ronald says. After meeting with River View's Family Service Counselor Gail Widmer, the pair selected plots at the top of the hill where they will be buried in woven grass caskets without embalming or burial vaults. Their gravesite will be marked by headstone that features a hummingbird, a tribute to Ronald's father who built a plane called a hummingbird and put the image on his own grave marker.
River View is unique in allowing natural burial nearly anywhere on the grounds. "Finding out we could choose any plot made a big difference for us," Nadine says. Thinking about her trips to her parents' gravesites in Southern California, she wanted "a nice place for our kids to come. We wanted a tree so we looked around a found a little shade tree."
Both Ronald and Nadine feel fortunate to have lived the lives they've lived. "We feel like we've won the lottery," says Ronald - whose father had tried unsuccessfully to buy tickets on the Titanic's final voyage. But they're concerned for their children, and for future generations.
"We don't want to beat up the planet any more," Nadine says. "And so we've bought our plots on that hill that we can see from our windows. It's an act of faith."