“Before I Die” a unique chalkboard stands in a WNY cemetery

TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Those behind the Before I Die Project, say the blackboard helps visitors through the grieving process. Leaders with the Buffalo Catholic Diocese adopted the idea in hopes their message would spread across the area.

Carmen Colao, Director of Catholic Cemeteries with the Diocese of Buffalo said, “Too often life is cut short. Maybe, before we get the chance to fulfill some of the things that are most important to us.”

Thats the idea behind the chalkboard. The Buffalo Diocese offers therapy sessions and bereavement. But this is a unique way to grieve. Colao said, “This in itself gives people an opportunity just for themselves to say something that’s on their mind that they may not say to someone else.”

“Before I Die” is a global public art project that invites people  share their personal aspirations in public space. There is room for 36 messages on the two-sided blackboards. But, some have fit their thoughts in between and on the margins.

Colao said he has a favorite message: “I want to give back much more then I’ve received.”

Its not the first chalkboard in Western New York either. The first one stood near the Central Terminal. Another one still stands near Niagara Falls State Park.

Whatever your thoughts are, whether it’s to travel the world or dance at your daughters wedding, you’re invited to reflect on how you want to live.

Colao sad, “I really, truly feel this board should give us time to just take a step back and think about what’s going on in our lives and what’s most important to us: how can we make things better.”

The board will stay here at this cemetery until October when it starts to get cold. But the plan is to move it to other parts of Western New York, so you could see it in a cemetery near you very soon.

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