No One Will Ever Visit My Grave
I was sitting in Coeur d Alene, ID waiting for some auto repairs to be completed on our car when my phone rang. On the other end of the call was a lady seeking information on the whereabouts of some funeral home records of a funeral home that no longer exists. As we began to talk she shared the story of her 3rd great grandfather with me. As the story went, she was researching her family history and discovered that her relative had died in the 1930's in Spokane, WA and had been cremated. The whereabouts of her relative were unknown because the death certificate only indicated the method of disposition as cremation. It did not indicate what happened to the cremated remains. After the call ended I began to think back over my 30+ years in the funeral service profession and wonder how many times I have heard stories similar to that of the caller I just spoke with.
I cannot begin to count how many times I have heard people tell me "just cremate me; I don't want to be a burden to my family; or "it is just too damned expensive" No matter where you fall on the agree Vs. Disagree scale, I am here to tell you that it does matter what happens to your story after death. As a former cemeterian I promise you, some one will always come visit your permanent memorial. It may be long lost relatives, school kids doing research or someone using the cemetery as a path to jog. No matter what, someone will always come visit. So tell them your story.
Let's be clear, a permanent memorial does not mean you had a funeral for the deceased. It also does not mean the deceased was buried in a casket. A a permanent memorial simply means that a person lived a life and died. It means that the deceased's life was worth remembering. A permanent memorial means a life is recognized, and that a person walked the face of the earth. No matter if you agree with how they lived their life or not, a permanent memorial indicates that a person lived and died. Without a tangible a permanent memorial, the dead are reduced to nothing more than a name on some random papers, destined to be forgotten forever.
Let's be even more clear, a permanent memorial does not need to be placed in a well manicured cemetery. A permanent memorial does not need to be a beautifully cut and polished chunk of
granite. Some of the best permanent memorials I have seen have been nothing more than Qr codes that directs the viewer to a website memorial. A permanent memorial simply keeps the person alive thru the sharing of memories. Death is the cessation of life. A second death occurs when people stop sharing memories and stories. A permanent memorial is designed to prevent the second death.
People of days gone by believed in memorialization. Just drive through any cemetery in your local community. Today, people tend to be cheap with their memorialization to the point that no permanent memorials are being created. People have their dead disposed of in various ways and nothing exists to carry on their memory.
I fear the generations that come after us will simply forget who we are as a community. Maybe that is ok with you, but I want people to remember that we lived. We experienced more advances to the human race than any generation that came before us. We experience a world wide pandemic. We experienced prosperity, poverty, love, loss, growth, death, peace and wars. Thats right, We lived. So tell your story to the next generation with a permanent memorial. Don't be the person who lived and was forgotten about because people stopped sharing your story through some sort of a permanent memorial.