Funerals are more an affair for the living than for the dearly departed, a closure (of sorts) and a start, at healing (never completely). The place they (the dead) lay in the ground to sleep or dream (do they dream, the dead?) or whatever they do for all eternity, well it might be just a hole in the ground, but it is an anchor you can go back to, to remember, to heal, to accept.
My family always makes it a point to remember, we go where our loved ones rest, fairly regularly and make sure its looking decent, weeding and fresh flowers (can artificial flowers be called fresh, Anyone?)
My sister (bless her soul, its been two years now) is buried at Warren Hills Cemetery…
Recently we were there, as so do people go to commemorate their fallen heroes on heroes day, and couldn’t help remember, some previous visits.
The first time I went back there, after the funeral, I had the most unpleasant shock, I could not find the graveside, the whole graveyard was overrun with weeds and I could not find the little sign post, (which some enterprising entrepreneur had charged me an obscene amount of money to put up, on the day of the funeral…) We finally found the site with help from the caretakers who “work” there, and who found the graveside by a mixture of sheer luck, guesswork and some weird extrapolation involving date of death.
I was absolutely appalled at the state of the cemetery, you wonder how people neglect their dearly departed, but it might not even be intentional at that, one would think these caretakers would you know take care of the mundane details (maybe they do not get paid enough or they just hate their jobs or both)
I remember on the day of the funeral, the same individual who I paid to make the sign post, also told me that “For an ‘extra fee’ they would keep an eye on the graveside, weeding, watering the flowers and would take my number in order to call me, if ever a ‘situation’ happened, such as vandalism (which does happen) or a cave in, or any unexpected event.”
You never know with dead, I guess I have seen enough the movies and have a healthy imagination a tad overactive (you know when you say rest in peace to the dearly departed you are just basically saying in fancy way “hey, No Zombie Stuff”
We all agreed, that this seemed like a good arrangement and we pulled our resources and added the ‘extra fee’ for the peace of mind.
Well they never called me; so I assumed it was all gravy in the navy.
Boy was I wrong.
After the ordeal of locating the grave, we discovered; the vandals had struck, which is why, it had been extra hard to find the place. Vandals might be wrong word for them more like thieves, because everything was gone, stolen from the bricks lining the grave, to the flowers and ornaments, even the signpost that marked the site, (who steals from the dead? one just has to wonder I was informed they resell all the stuff back to new clients, bereaved families saying goodbye to their loved ones, whom they will probably steal from again to sell yet again and again, enterprising criminal entrepreneurs)
So all that was left was just a mound of earth, completely overrun with grass like some abandoned wilderness….
…I had no words…
If I did not have the caretakers with me, confirming the numbers (apparently the graves have numbers like a post office box hahaha it was either laugh or cry so I laughed instead) I would have sworn it was the wrong place.
Anyway we eventually tidied up everything, including paying for another set of stones to line the edges of the graveside. As I was leaving one of the guys who had been helping us out says “Rasta, make us a lil something to buy a couple of cold ones and I will keep an eye out for vandals and water the flowers; flowers I am going to plant, immediately, as soon as you leave…..”
Sounds like some organised extortion racket, but I gave, in after the shock, I had had, paying seemed the logical plan. We all agreed, again.
The next time I was there, there was no sign of anything having been planted or any other work done, fortunately the weeds weren’t bad, being after the rainy season. The very same guy walks up to me, before I even say “hello” says to me “Ah Rasta about those flowers, nothing grows in the winter season not even the weeds so will take care of it in summer, anyway make a lil something…”
A few days ago marking the second year of her passing we went to lay fresh flowers, to accept and to heal (never completely)
and Life, well it goes on….
Ps If you want something done right; you do it yourself, no truer words have been spoken