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14 March 2010

Sunday strollings through cemeteries

Soon it will be spring and my Sunday graveyard strolling and picture taking can be revived.  In the meantime, I read a distressing article in the LA Times:

"More bodies go unclaimed as families can't afford funeral costs"

Unclaimed bodies mean no grave site, no everlasting memorial, maybe no obituary?  So much of our current history will be lost.
I know the pain of not having money when a loved one dies. On the 28th of August 2006 I found my 26 year old son dead from "undetermined causes". He had just moved back to Iowa and I was just beginning to recover from being laid off for the 4th time from a tech job. My savings had gone to his education. The cost of his cremation and a simple service at the Catholic church came in at $5,000. There was no way I could afford a burial. But I was the family historian. I could not let him be forgotten for so many reasons. After 2 years of agonizing, I stumbled across a small store at the Valley West Mall in West Des Moines, Iowa called Lazer Expressions . Then it dawned on me...my grandparents had a beautiful large stone in an old cemetery in Des Moines. No one had visited it except my sister and I for years. No new burials were being done at the cemetery so I asked my sister if she would mind if I added a plaque to our grandparents' stone. She asked only that it would make mention of others buried there as well.  I designed an oval stone memorial.  Around the edges I put the names and birth/death dates of my grandparents and all their children.  On the front, it tells a mini-family tree of how my son Nicholas is connected to my grandparents.  I planted rose bushes and native grasses along with a solar light...Nick had teased about wanting an eternal flame when he died.
What creative ways have you found to memorialize your loved ones?

1 comment:

  1. So sorry for your loss. Glad you found a way to honor your son.

    ReplyDelete