folkarchivist

Non-Tombstone Tuesday

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2010 at 3:28 PM

Well, I was just thinking.  What happens when all the recent family members decide not only to be cremated, but also to not have a final resting place…ashes scattered on the water, in a garden, etc.  Philosophically I understand this–leaving the least impact on the earth as one can.  But genealogically, this could be interesting for future researchers.

I have one set of grandparents who were cremated, but then the ashes buried under a gravestone in a small plot.  It is, I have to say, rather nice to have somewhere to go “visit” them.  My mother, and others I suspect, do not understand why we need a place and/or a stone marker.  Perhaps that’s part of my romanticism as well.

My other set of grandparents are scattered to the wind.  Well, the water actually, but same idea.  No permament stones, no memorial plaques, nothing to record what happened to their remains.  The funeral home records will only indicate that they were cremated and their remains picked up by family.  There are no official records of that day when the family gathered to say goodbye to grandma’s ashes.  Nor of the day when grandma said goodbye to grandpa’s ashes.  We won’t go into the legality/illegality of the whole thing.

I have an aunt, uncle and dog whose ashes were buried, without much ceremony and rather claudestinely under the cover of dark, in a garden outside their beloved apartment.  As they would have wanted.

As for my own wishes, well I’m torn.  Being a family historian, I’d like to have a big stone that depics all my family history research (okay, it’d have to be a very big stone).  I too wish to walk gently on this good earth and don’t necessarily want to have a plot of land in perputuity for my bones.  Green Burials aren’t yet legal or available here, but perhaps by the time I go they might be.  Though, generally, they eschew the permament marker.    I guess, given my current choices, I’d like to be buried standing up, in a wool sack, so that all I am will biodegrade and feed the earth.

Anyways, there are my ramblings on not having a tombstone.

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  1. I’ve wondered the same thing. I debate creating a memorial on Find a Grave for my family members who opted to be scattered to the wind. I want their information to remain somewhere in case someone wonders….

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