Loved Ones to be Remembered in Cumberland Heights New Memorial Garden

People often tell us they feel a spiritual connection when they walk through our 177-acre campus. We feel it too. And that connection is even stronger following a dedication to our new Memorial Garden and re-dedication to our beloved Serenity Trail.

The Memorial Garden made possible by many generous donors will be the final resting place for loved ones of our Cumberland Heights’ extended family. One of our favorite parts of the garden is that it features marble from the sidewalk of the birthplace of Bill W, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Marble slab from home of Bill W.

CEO Jay Crosson kicked off the dedication with a special thanks to our donors and introduced The Rev. Margery Kennelly of St. George’s Episcopal Church who lead guests in an opening prayer. The church had a big part in the creation of the Memorial Garden.

Spiritual Care Counselor, Michelle Morris followed the opening prayer with a special reading by Mark Morrison-Reed entitled “Let Me Die Laughing”

We are all dying, our lives always moving toward completion.

We need to learn to live with death, and to understand that death is not the worst of all events.

We need to fear not death, but life—empty lives, loveless lives, lives that do not build upon the gifts that each of us has been given,                                            lives that are like living deaths, lives which we never take the time to savor and appreciate, lives in which we never pause to breath deeply.

What we need to fear is not death, but squandering the lives we have been miraculously given.

So let me die laughing, savoring one of life’s crazy moments. Let me die holding the hand of one I love, and recalling that I tried to love and was loved in return. Let me die remembering that life has been good, and that I did what I could.

But today, just remind me that I am dying so that I can live, savor, and love with all my heart.

Spiritual Director Stan Bumgarner  followed the reading with a few words. He talked about the significance of the names on the plaques, and how their loved ones will have special place to honor them and remember. These will be the final resting places of their fathers, sons, wives, mothers, friends sponsors – the people who have suffered with them, healed with them and ultimately triumphed with them.

He added, “To others who didn’t know them, their names will mean hope. These names will say ‘I did it’ and you can too. These names symbolize that there is a solution and ultimately they say there are things worse than death to fear.”

Also celebrated during the event was the restoration of The Serenity Trail. The trail was first brought to life by The Friends of Cumberland Heights in 1984.

“It’s a great place for patients to go to be quiet, to meditate, to be still and to find the God of their understanding while they are here in treatment,” said CEO Jay Crosson.

Along the Serenity Trail you’ll find 12 restored benches with plaques, each representing the 12 steps of recovery.

As guests looked over the trail this dedication was read:

“We rededicate this serenity trail, that through its renewal, current and future members of this community will find this as a place of retreat, serenity, study and a place of connection to a power greater than themselves. May the feet that walk this trail be blessed by the messages along its path and be inspired to take the steps of renewal in their own lives.”

If you have questions about the Memorial Garden, email Rachel Williams at