I love spending time in graveyards. They are, for the most part, quiet, and a good place to hang out in bare feet, without too many people around. The lawns are well manicured. Birds make their homes in trees close by, squirrels and chipmunks can often be seen running around. Often there are lots of real flowers to admire. Some of the plastic flowers don’t look too bad either and add some colour.
Occasionally a human or two or a whole family arrive to spend time with their loved one. It gives me a good feeling when I see the care and love that is shared through these visits to the grave.
Being back home here in Nova Scotia, I have the opportunity to go visit my Mother, in the Valley. I feel grateful that she chose to be buried. Because of our estrangement a number of years ago, having a grave to visit has become very important to me. I understand the significance of burying our dead in a place that allows us to go visit, pay our respects, share our tears or to just go and have a talk.
I have a conflict.
Burial as a tradition to be observed in this day and age from an environmental perspective, I am not a fan of. I have written about my concerns in my blog post: The Impact of Cemeteries on the Environment. I was recently speaking with someone here in Nova Scotia that recounted a story about a funeral they had attended. The grave was so full of water that the casket could not be lowered during the graveside service.
My Mother died of Cancer. Treatment was unsuccessful in prolonging her life. What do we know about chemotherapy drugs when they enter the groundwater in a grave?
What about real estate? Is building cemeteries to bury over 7 billion (and growing) people who now inhabit the earth something we want to continue to do? Of course not all people choose burial. There are other methods to dispose of a body.
Direct Cremation is becoming the number one choice in North America, because it is the least expensive. People now expect more from funeral homes for the money being charged and tend to use less of the services that are being offered. For some, keeping the cremains of their loved one close by in a box or urn in a room in the house or special place, or to scatter here and there in favorite spaces is preferable to burial of the body of their loved one.
Whatever method we choose for when we drop our body, I think it is important for us to consider how we want others to find us, to visit and have a chat, or to help future relatives find links to their ancestors, as well as considering the Environment.