14 March 2010
Sunday strollings through cemeteries
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?