Cemeteries,cremation. What’s your preference?

When I was a little girl my grandma used to go once a week with all her little old lady friends to the Greenridge Cemetery and “take care of the graves.” They’d all load up their tools and would fill 2 quart jars with water and off they’d go. She used to say that a neglected grave was a travesty and someone had to do it.

We also weren’t EVER supposed to walk over a site or even kneel in the middle. We were to work from the head, foot or sides. It was very disrespectful to walk over someones burial site.

Does anyone do this kind of thing anymore? I live very close to two cemeteries and I never ever see anyone at them. Nobody is ever visiting or planting or watering or just there talking or contemplating things in their life with their loved one.

This is how I feel about it. My mother in law was really my first taste of death as an adult and it hit me really hard. I had a hard time with the whole “cemetery” thing and hated the thought of her there in the ground and the thought of her being cold. I KNOW!!!! She wasn’t really there anymore. It was just her body but I couldn’t sleep the night we buried her. My mind was going nuts. I only went to that cemetery one time. I felt no connection whatsoever to her or did I ever feel close to her being there.

Now when the time came for my grandma and grandpa, I love to go see them at their place of rest. I feel them there. I don’t know why but my whole paternal side of the family is there and it’s fun for me to walk around and “visit” everyone. When I lived in Canada I went there at least once a week. I go there every single time I go up there. Maybe it’s because I went there with my grandma and took care of those sites. I’m pretty sure I feel close to her there because she took such pride in taking care of them like she did. I myself feel a sense of peace there that I’ve never felt at any other cemetery.

Fast forward to now. I have an aunt and uncle who we cremated and scattered their ashes on our big hill out back and I do think of them when I go up there. This is what both my parents want as well as what Paul and I want. I feel funerals and coffins and all that crap are a gross waste of money and I’d rather leave that money to my kids than have a $5000 coffin. I’m not even going there!!!!

But is that fair to not have some kind of a “marker” or have a place for your kids or grandchildren or even future generations to come and “reflect” or make a family tree or for whatever reason want to “find” you? Do you think you should leave that something behind? Is that fair? Do you feel you should maybe be cremated and yet buy a plot at a cemetery but not have your body buried there? What if when we’re long gone and strangers own this property. Where can our kids or grandkids go to think of us or talk to us?

This is such a personal thing and I’m wondering how you all feel about this? Do you go to a cemetery to “visit” anyone? Does it make you feel close to that person or don’t you feel them there? Do you want to be buried and where will you buried? Do you talk about this with your kids and loved ones?

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22 Responses to Cemeteries,cremation. What’s your preference?

  1. Jason says:

    I think when my time comes I would prefer to be cremated, for the simple reason that our population is getting bigger and we will eventually run out of space for said bodies to go. I also wouldn’t want my family to have to deal with all the added expense that come with a burial, just treat me like the vikings and put me in a boat, light it, and shove me off to sea!

  2. Laura says:

    I don’t feel attached to anyone that I know who has died when I go to a cemetery. Come to think of it, I’ve never gone to a cemetery specifically to visit anyone. I couldn’t tell you where any of my grandparents are buried. I’m pretty sure my parents want to be cremated, but I’m not sure. I know I do. I can’t see taking up all that space to just lie there. Cremate me and sprinkle me over my favorite lake in WI.

    I do, however, have little things that connect me to people who have gone before. I have some drinking glasses that belonged to my grandmother. Every time I went there, I remember drinking ice water from them. So when she died, I asked if I could have them. I actually had to “fight” my cousin for them, and I’ve promised him that if I ever don’t want them, they *will* go to him. I also lost a good friend several years ago, and every single time I see a Peep (yes, those marshmallow & sugar things), I think of her. She LOVED them.

    To me, people live on in our hearts. I personally don’t need to go anywhere, if I want to feel them. I can just sit and be still, and think of them.

    As for the “grave etiquette” – I trip over myself in cemeteries, trying to avoid stepping on graves! I was also taught that it’s disrespectful to walk on a grave, so I take care to stay near the headstones, so I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes or heads. Steve thought I was crazy the first time he saw me do it (he still does, actually), but I refuse to do anything else.

  3. SKL says:

    We had a cemetary near our house growing up, and we used to play there. I don’t know if my parents knew this. I didn’t really learn “grave etiquette” because my parents never took us to a cemetary. I just paid attention to what other people were doing and tried not to do anything that would raise eyebrows. I wouldn’t disturb a headstone, flowers / decorations, or an obviously marked grave. But I probably have walked on grass that covered old graves.

    Everyone I can think of in my family was cremated and either not buried, or buried in someone’s backyard. I think my parents used to believe that the body should be kept whole because of some aspect of “the resurrection of the body.” Not sure if they still believe this (I should probably ask, but . . . how do you ask?). My mom once mentioned that my dad wanted to be buried in a certain cemetary, but that was decades ago. I don’t know how he will feel now, especially since his mom decided to be cremated before her funeral. She didn’t want to be laid out because “this body is not who I am.” I relate to that.

    Personally I don’t care what is done with my body after I die – as long as I’m really good and dead. I prefer the idea of cremation to decaying, but if the bereaved felt strongly the need to keep my body around, it’s really about them, right? I think I’ve mentioned my feelings to my family and close friends. My kids are too young to even entertain the idea that I might die before they are 100 years old.

  4. javajunkee says:

    I don’t feel connected to anybody in particular in a cemetary. I don’t go on a regular schedule to “visit”..that being said I find the cemetary a very calming place to hang out.
    as far as cremation. my sister died when I was 18 and she was the first one that I KNEW that was cremated. It was disturbing to say the least to see her beautiful and peaceful one day and the next day to see her in an urn. I think that is what tore my mom and dad up the most.
    ..that being said I am considering it for myself. This many years have passed and now it’s very common and as I have heard it a lot less expensive.

    • Joy says:

      It’s a LOT cheaper Lisa. I really think it’s the funeral homes who really make out in a death. Look at like a wedding versus eloping.

  5. mssc54 says:

    My first choice would be to donate my body to science. If they won’t have me then just burn me up and sprinkle me where ever.

    I really haven’t felt a connection to anyone in a graveyard until Buddy was killed. I loved him like my own son and he was such a remarkable young man. I do stop by there from time to time. Not to talk to him but looking at his grave marker and all that it says it sort of helps me to better remember some things.

    We also take his son (he is 4 now) there from time to time to remember his “Daddy Buddy.” As a matter of fact if you are my Facebook friend you can watch the video of me, my Mrs. our two youngest and little Cooper at his “Daddy Buddy’s” grave last October singing happy birthday on his birthday. 😦

    • Joy says:

      I did see that when you put it up and it really touched my heart Michael. I think taking Cooper there and making it as “happy” for him as you can, he many find comfort in it later because it’ll remind him of you, love and family because his memories will be good ones.

    • Laura says:

      That IS a really sweet thing to do. Bittersweet, but good. It’s such a hard thing – to raise a little man to know his dad when his dad isn’t there. It’s lovely that you’re giving him more than just a picture to remember Buddy by.

  6. Nikki says:

    I do want to be buried, I do not want to be cremated. Lie me down in the ground in a pretty dress. I know I’d be dead and gone, but the thought of burning to ashes freaks me out so much more than lying in the ground for eternity.

    I grew up with death all around me. When I was 13 I think, I had 3 cousins die in one year. My aunt died when I was very little, and my grandpa died also. Another aunt lost a baby. And when I was 19, my father passed away, They are all buried in the same cemetery in Sacramento, except for my dad. I don’t want to be buried there, my home is here. But we’d go there and visit all of them. It’s been so many years, but I can close my eyes and know exactly where everyone is.

    The saddest part, was my when my aunt died. No one had any money for a head stone. She was just there, in the ground, almost as if she had no story. Does that make sense?

    When I was 16, I lived in Montana and I lost a friend in a car accident. On my hardest days, just being a teenager in some tough situations, I’d go there and just talk to him. It made me feel better.

    Jason doesn’t care either way, he always says, “I don’t know, I don’t care.” So hopefully, cremated or not, we’ll end up together some how.

    • mssc54 says:

      Lol Nikki, you remind me of my Aunt Hellen’s children. Aunt Hellen wanted her body donated to science. Her children did not want to follow her wishes because, “Mom hates the smell of phermaldehyde.” (sp) 🙂

  7. Karen Joy says:

    Joy,I never knew Gramma did that!She never did when I went to stay in summer,must have stopped by then.Anyhow.
    I used to go once and awhile to the Greenridge cemetary and see Grandma and Grandpas graves and any other relatives buried there.I like strolling around and remembering them.Once my mom and dad both died and are now buried there I dont go.It hit so much closer to home(my heart) with them,I couldnt stand being at their graves.As aweful as it sounds I would stand there and all I though of was what was happening to their bodies.So I never go.I do not feel close to them there.There are other ways to to do that!
    So,I know I want to be cremated.The price is the main reason and (now dont laugh)I know no one will be able to do my hair how I like it if Im in a coffin.I know thats so stupid but youd be surprised how many women asked me to do their hair if they passed when I was hairdressing still.They didnt want it left to the undertakers.ANYHOW!!
    I would want my urn put in my cemetary plot.We did it that way with my grandpa,thought it nice and simple.I wont be in the same cemetery as my folks but with my hubby and his baby girl here in our town.Yes,the price of funerals is NUTS!

    • Joy says:

      Mrs Grier used to pick us up every Tues night after supper and Aunt Annie and Aunt Bernice went too. I have very happy memories of it. They may have stopped when they added on to that church and hired the guy who lives across to be the groundskeeper. I can’t think of his name. He still lives there. The hardest part was lugging all the water because of course there was no running water there. Heck, at that time they were still in the old house. You’re a LOT younger than I am Karen. It was fun to be with all those old women. Doreen and Donna went and we played. It was a lot of fun for those women. Maybe it was like “girls night out” for back then.

      I know just how you feel though about not wanting to go there now with your mom and dad both there. That might change it for me but there’s something very comforting to me about the whole scene of that place. I know when your mom died, Uncle Russel went there almost every day for a very long time. That hit him very hard. I used to go all the time when I was there and I saw his name in the book. It all depends on how it makes you feel and if it doesn’t make you feel good then I agree, you shouldn’t go. I feel this way about Paul’s mom’s place of rest. I can’t stand it. I feel her so much on Lake Augusta.

      LOL about the hair. I SO get that.

      • Karen Joy says:

        I bet that was actually a good outing for grandma!Nice to know that story Joy.You have such good memories.I felt the way you do about going there before my parents died.You feel connected and comforted because of all the family and it makes you think of all the history,I used to like all the stories I was told by either mom or dad,whoever it was I was with walking around there.My Dad went everyday to the cemetery too.Is there a book there somewhere?Russell was so close to Mom too,felt very bad for him.You know,for a very long time I would just get plain mad standing at their graves and I thought I just cant do it anymore.To bad..but maybe someday I”ll be able too.

  8. Joy says:

    You know, if nothing else I think it helps to talk about this so people know what everyone else wants. I personally won’t pay for a funeral. I’d rather the kids get the money. To me, a funeral is like a wedding. It’s a one day deal and they milk you and make grieving people feel bad for “not wanting the best” for their loved one. I hate the things they say. They make it seem like you loved your loved one less if you don’t have a lot of money to pay for the best of everything. Funeral parlor directors lay it on really thick. It’s their job to get you to spend as much $$$$ as they can and they take pride in making you feel bad.

    I love the way we did it for Uncle Ronnie and Aunt Mabel. We all walked up the big hill. We had Bridge Over Troubled Water on a radio that Christopher pulled in the wagon. We all had a flower. I bought 30 different flowers. A different one for everyone. Darryl and I read a poem and we threw the ashes into the air and then we all threw our flowers. Do you know that I could see some of those dead flower stems for 2 years?

    The only thing with the both of them was neither of them had kids. I’m thinking for Paul and I I’ll put a marker at Union Lake. With family, I think that’s just the right thing to do. It’s nice there too. It’s a nice country setting overlooking a lake. Cause I’ll still want to see the view!!!!

    • Karen Joy says:

      Is that ever nice what you did for your aunt and uncle.I love the flowers idea.So you wouldnt have a service or anything?Im always saying NO funeral for me.I hate funerals and I hate how so many(up here anyhow)come for the lunch after.I think its crazy that the grieving family has to put that all on and then socialize after with the whole world!If anything Id want a small private send off.

    • Joy says:

      You know Karen, I don’t think you know this. I had everyone at my house, it was a Friday night and I got a call from Les Fedoruk telling me your dad died. Here I was burring an aunt and an uncle who’d died a few months apart and got a call telling me another uncle died. It was really hard for my dad that day and it was really hard for Darryl and I to tell him. He had to find out about his own brother and we had this thing set up for my mom’s brother and mom’s aunt. It was a rotten day.

      No, we didn’t have a “funeral” in the traditional sense. We just did it in our own way and everyone thought it was really nice.

      I know what you mean about some of the whole “mourning” process. It’s not all for everyone.

    • Joy says:

      I should also mention when you cremate, you can wait and do it when the family can get together. We were waiting for Darryl’s son Eric. He was in the process of going to Japan. He had just gotten out of boot camp (Navy) and he wasn’t in MN until that weekend and that’s why we had it that weekend.

  9. Morocco says:

    I don’t like visiting the cemetary–the people are dead so you are not visiting them. The body is just a shell and even that breaks down. Plus, I feel kind of silly talking to a plot of ground.

    My mother was cremated (she donated her body to the IU Anatomical Gift Program) and I have the majority of her ashes. I gave a portion to my two sisters and one of hers.

    I only visited my husband’s grave once, Valentine’s Day 2009. He is buried a few feet from my aunt and his father as well.

    I would like to be in a mausoleum. I find the thought of my lifeless body residing in the ground too chilling, lol, even though I won’t know it!

    I prefer to remember people naturally–whenever they come to mind.

  10. Nikki says:

    As for the whole funeral thing. Jason knows exactly what I want, and do NOT want or said at my funeral. I keep that pretty private, between him and I. I should tell one other person, just to be sure.

    • Laura says:

      It sounds maudlin, but I wrote it all down, and sent a copy to my parents and each of my brothers. This was all when we were doing our wills, when Josh was little. I figured, if I was going to have a final will and a living will, somebody should know that I’m an organ donor, and what I want done. I think I even have which charities I want “gifts” to go to!! I put it in an envelope that says something like, “don’t open this unless I’m dead” or some such. As far as I’m concerned, they can read it, and take what they want from it. I won’t be there. But at least they had my opinion.

  11. Phyllis says:

    For me I think I’ll choose cremation, even though there’s a plot for me with my infant son. I am most definitely NOT a cemetery person. I know where every one is, but I have only very rarely visited. My Mom and Dad, son, and godson are all together in a set of 4, and my grandparents are a short walk from that spot, but to visit the site only brings a trememdous sense of loss to my soul. I am loving with those I love while we are together, and have my memories of times together as well as ton of pics of shared experiences. Those memories and pics are where I go to visit with my loved ones.

    My daughter and granddaughters, however, are regular visitors. I don’t know if that means they are stronger than me in this way or not. We just are who and what we are I guess.

    • Joy says:

      I wouldn’t call it stronger Phyllis. It’s just a difference. I don’t feel my mother in law where she is and that makes me sad but where my grandparents are, I feel a sense of warm and closeness. I’m not sure why or how though.

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