For all its inevitability, no one really likes talking and thinking about death, as if doing so would invite this finality into our lives.
However, there is no escaping it and we will certainly be confronted by it as we grow older (if we are so lucky) and see friends and loved ones bid their final goodbyes.
But this lack of communication, acceptance, and preparedness often makes the grieving process harder than it has to be as we struggle to process how to feel and how to move forward.
Children can be even more affected by the process of losing a loved one if they are not familiar with the concept of death early on. At the same time, their innocent and accepting minds also present opportunities for them to better understand death, grief, funerals, cremation, and similar topics if they are discussed openly and honestly. This will better prepare them for these inevitable events later in life.
To this end, Bestattungsmuseum, the Funeral Museum in Vienna’s famous central cemetery, came up with a way to educate their younger visitors by introducing LEGO kits based on somber funeral scenes.
Museum spokesperson Dr.
Florian Keusch explained, “We established the first product made of LEGO components in 2016.First, it was a historical tram, which brought dead bodies to the Viennese central cemetery and was used in Vienna between the first and second world wars.
This tram was for collectors, and then we made a truck and a historical hearse.”
The cemetery is one of the largest in the world with more than 330,000 graves and tombs nestled over 590 acres. Famous names such as Beethoven and Strauss are among those who have their eternal rest at the cemetery. But despite the reverent surroundings, they have not neglected the well-being of the living.
“In 2018 my team and I were thinking about new products made of LEGO components.We had a few questions from grieving customers like: ‘Can I take our children with us to the funeral of our grandfather?’ or ‘my child is grieving, what can I do?’ and so on.
” Dr.Keusch said. “So we were brainstorming, how we can help children to overcome their grief. We have developed the crematoria, the cemetery with an excavator, the mourning family with a female and a male dead body and a skeleton and a historical horse buggy.
“We have integrated the Wiener Landesverband für Psychotherapie (Viennese Association of Psychotherapists) and ensured that the new products made of LEGO components were useful for therapy with children, and for parents with children, who were suffering from their loss. With these products, they can describe the process and the children can process their grief.”
When news about the (slightly morbid) LEGO sets gained worldwide attention, Dr. Keusch said that reception was overwhelmingly positive. “0.00001 percent of people were disgusted because they have only read the headline ‘LEGO crematoria’ and didn’t get the intentions behind these products,” he said.
“They were made by an Austrian company – we created the design together with them and they produced the packaging, the manual and they organized the bricks and put it together in the box. It is not an official LEGO product, so we call it, for example, ‘crematoria made of LEGO components.’”
Three new sets are available. You have the choice of a full cemetery complete with tombstones, tombs, excavators, and cemetery personnel. A crematorium is also available where a casket can be inserted.
For those more interested in role-playing the process, you can also get a funeral parade with a grieving family, which includes a father, mother, child, a deceased person as well as a decomposed skeleton.
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