The Odessa Record -

Letter to the Editor: On cemetery etiquette; how do you grieve?


Last updated 4/11/2018 at 3:50pm

To the Editor:

Spring is here, the grass is starting to grow and people are beginning to emerge from their winter shells to begin the never-ending lawn maintenance chores of summer. This also means that cemetery maintenance will be in full swing as well. Unless I am misunderstood, the community taxpayers provide the funds for the maintenance and equipment of the cemetery to care for the marked plots of dirt and grass that community taxpayers have purchased as the final resting place for their loved ones.

People have many ways of caring for these plots. Many days, I see firsthand many of the people who meticulously care for their plots by trimming grass close to the markers and arranging both fresh and silken flowers, along with the many fixed decorative structures that add a little personal touch to the site.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that many of the objects placed at the cemetery out of good intentions ultimately become trash to pick up and obstacles to avoid when mowing and trimming edges. However, I do question why anyone would have a difficult time with secured structures on their own plots maintained by family members and loved ones. The ordinance put in place last November was changed specifically to do away with structures and decorations, including silk flowers, at the sites for the purpose of maintaining maintenance equipment.

While I understand the reasoning, let me ask you this, how do you grieve for your loved ones? Would you take offense to someone telling you how to grieve? Would you be hurt and frustrated if someone bluntly approached your grieving family member to discuss what may or may not be deemed appropriate for a plot of land that is technically owned and cared for, as well as paid for by the community taxpayer to be maintained? What if that family member’s grieving process includes caring for that tiny plot of land where her loved one rests?

The first rule of known Cemetery Etiquette is “Be Sympathetic.” Let’s all remember that, and perhaps it is time for the community taxpayers to readdress this new cemetery ordinance and revise it in a way that is more appropriate to being sympathetic while also being practical.

Jill Connolly



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