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Have We Forgotten Our Dead?

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My mom, my son M, and I visited three cemeteries the Monday prior to Memorial Day, to decorate family members graves with flowers.  Two of the three cemeteries was very unsatisfactory.

The first one, St. Joseph’s Catholic cemetery in Adrian, Michigan, had their drive blocked with orange construction cones.  It seemed they had decided that a week before Memorial Day was the optimal time to put fresh tar in the cracks of the paved drive.

Really?  How does that make sense?  To block people out of the cemetery at the one time of year when they are guaranteed to want to visit?!

As I didn’t want to get fresh tar on my car (the hail damage is enough to give it character), my mom and I made alternate arrangements to come back on Wednesday.  Surely it would be open again by then, right?

Next we visited Pleasant View cemetery in Blissfield, Michigan, where my dad is buried.  There was no sign of the flags that they always put on the graves of veterans.  The place had not even been mowed.  There were branches and stray bits of liter everywhere.

My mom is very particular about millions of things in this world.  Most of which I DO NOT and WILL NOT ever understand.  But on one thing I do agree with her, and that is that you should place your flowers at the cemetery after they have mowed.  Otherwise, your artificial flowers get dirt and grass thrown all up in them and look terrible.  But, having no other options, we placed our flowers at that time.  Next to my dad’s tombstone is a concrete marker in the shape of a lamb for his sister, who was born and died before he was ever born.  It probably isn’t made out of very quality materials to begin with, and it has been there approaching 100 years.  But we could plainly see where the riding lawn mower clips it when it goes between the stones.

You can see where I pushed away the dirt with my foot to expose the original resting position of the lamb.

You can see where I pushed away the dirt with my foot to expose the original resting position of the lamb.

Really?

These stones are the only thing left to mark these people’s lives (in this instance, of a deceased baby who never even got to live her life), and you have to carelessly push them over on their foundations?

When my mom and I returned to the St. Joseph’s Catholic cemetery on Wednesday, we witnessed the same thing.  The place had not yet been mowed.  The tombstones on the ends had been moved on their foundations, from previous passes with the mower.  I tried to push one back into position, unsuccessfully, and almost gave myself a hernia.

Oh, and FYI, there were STILL cones blocking the entrance to St. Joseph’s.  It appeared as if they had seal-coated the drive as well.  I drove around the cones.  (It had already rained the night before.  Any of the coating that was going to come off would have already been washed off.)

Aside from the shotty groundskeeping, I also noticed that WE, as surviving family members as a whole, are not decorating.  The entire section my dad is located in was almost devoid of flowers.  Everyone in his section generally died in 1980 or before.

Now, looking across the cemetery to the newer section, it did appear to be very decorated.  I guess all the people in the ground in the new section are the ones who used to decorate the tombstones in the old section.

How sad is that?

Even sadder is that they never told their children that someone had to keep decorating the grandmas’ and grandpas’ when they themselves had moved on.

Decorating gravestones is very similar to how I feel about sending greeting cards.  I know that it is an extra expense, but we lose a little of our humanity when we decide it is not worth our time and bother anymore.  A website exists called Find-A-Grave.  It is a great resource for genealogists.  But, you can also leave “virutal flowers” for people.  I have an issue with the “social media-ization” of the dead.

Oy.

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Give The Perfect Gift

[Stuffed Animals: #3 in a Series of ?]

For past posts on stuffed animals, or stuffies (as I call them), please visit:

Barfey https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2012/09/13/barfey/

Sleeps With Stuffed Animals https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2012/09/20/1244/

I came up with a great idea the other day as I was cleaning the top of my dresser in the bedroom. As with all my ideas, I am sure someone else has already conceived it and slickly marketed it. But, I will share it with you here anyway.

When you are sick or feeling down, people give you flowers. Flowers either come in a vase you have to try not to spill, or you have to find a vase to put them in. You have to keep them watered. And then they just die anyway. If you are trying to get over someone’s death, doesn’t having to throw away dead flowers just make you think about death and throwing life away and feeling even more depressed? Wouldn’t it be better to have something to hug?

Flowers…such high maintenance


Not to mention people with allergies–keep those flowers away!

People also send fruit bouquets or muffin baskets or popcorn baskets, etc. But people are always watching their calories. And watching their cholesterol. And avoiding gluten. And being scared of nuts. Not to mention steering clear of coconut. Because everyone knows it is so gross. The message: people are particular about what they eat. Food is never a good gift.

Fruit, anyone? Better eat that up fast, because fruit goes bad.


Muffins…carbs, gluten…


Popcorn…fat, sodium, those little things that get stuck in your teeth…


Balloon bouquet? Obviously you don’t know about the rising occurrences of latex allergies in this country.

Balloons…airway constricting,vision getting dim…


So what is a person who wants to send someone a thoughtful, yet impersonal gift to do?

Sample bouquet mock-up from my own collection. Hmmm…how does the name “Pleasantly Plush” sound for my business?

    Send them the STUFFED ANIMAL BOUQUET!*

    That’s right! The stuffed animal bouquet.

    Choose from many different sizes.

    Purchase a big basket full of small animals, or a basket featuring a large animal surrounded by smaller ones.

    Pick a theme, such as Teddy Bears, Dogs, Cats, Favorite Sports Team–or order our variety baskets.

    Choose from Farm, Forest, Jungle, Ocean, Swamp, Safari, or Zoo!

    We can cater to any occasion: birthday, anniversary, wedding, Quinceaños, Bar Mitzvah, federally recognized holidays.

    We can even create a tasteful yet comforting arrangement for funerals. When someone you care about has lost their someone to hug, be sure you provide them with a fuzzy substitute full of childlike wonder to fill in the empty void.

    For a limited time**, you can get a free card when you order any bouquet, handling and delivery fees extra.

Wouldn’t that be so fun to work with stuffed animals all day? And they might go to little sick kids in the hospital and put a big smile on their faces.

But I would have to use quality animals, not just the junk that gets dumped in a claw machine or hangs in the booths at the carnival. That would make my bouquets expensive. I would worry that someone would complain that they didn’t like it. But really, that would be between the gifter and the giftee.

* This company does not actually exist. Although I know it sounds awesome, please do not try to order.
** As long as the make-believe company exists.

I’m not stalking you. is NOW ON FACEBOOK! “Like” that I’m not stalking you and get an update when there is a new post to read. (It is sort of like YOU are stalking ME.)

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