August 6, 2005

Family Plots

Once upon a time in a wee little town, a boy was born.

Right down the road, in another wee little town, a girl was born.

The boy grew into a man and the girl into a woman. They each had life adventures, yet neither ventured far from the wee little towns of their birth. Eventually they met, fell in love and got married. They settled in yet another wee little town nestled smack dab between the wee little towns in which they were each brought up.

A home was established, a family raised. Those three wee little towns all grew a bit bigger. The family still lived in the middle one.

Time flew. The man and woman aged. Their children grown, they retired and enjoyed being part of the community. They each kept roots in their respective hometowns and grew new ones together. Their family cemeteries contained not only long gone relatives but also people with whom these two had grown. The woman got into genealogy and traced her family history quite far back.

Therein lies a dilemma. The woman wishes to be buried with her ancestors in her family plot in her hometown. The man would prefer to be buried with his ancestors in his family plot in his hometown. Nothing of them will remain in the town in which they lived and raised their family. The desire to be buried with their ancestors obviously precludes being buried together as husband and wife. When they talk about it, they shrug and don't make eye contact.

I've never contemplated a situation like this before and wonder how other families handle it. Would you prefer to be buried with your spouse/partner or your ancestors? My partner wins that contest hands down everytime. I don't feel as connected to my ancestors as I do Wendy. Plus they hail from a different part of the country than I call home. Pity the genealogist who attempts to trace my family! We've scattered all over the States.



Denyse said...

Interesting. When my partner and I have discussed these matters we both would prefer to be cremated with ashes scattered on favourite spots. Mind you, our favourite spots do seem to change over time and are not necessarily the same place. I would like some of my ashes to return to Trinidad, where I was born. Not so much of an ancestor thing as a home/roots thing.

Gina said...

Oh, Hubba-hubba wins!

If I were to be buried with my ancestors, they would probably look and me and say, "Who the hell are you?"

You don't pick your family, you pick your partner. Therefore, he wins over people I have never even known.

Bent Fabric said...

With my partner! Although this deliemma is irrelevant to me as I'm going to be cremated and my ashes stored in an Etch-A-Sketch.

Shirley said...

My husband bought plots here next to his Mother and her brother, who both lived with us when they died. So I guess that's where I'm going, I dunno. I never wanted to be planted, but I give up trying to change my husband's mind that you're not going to be needing the vessel, that I'd be of more use donated to science. He tells me awful stories about that, and I give up caring what he does with my body. Seems like a waste of real estate to me. But if I had to make a choice, it sure isn't going to be with my relatives. Who has that great a family?

alice, uptown said...

This has been a hard subject to discuss with a partner. I don't have one right now, so I'd go with family.

When my dad died, he was cremated, and his ashes scattered in the Adirondack lake where we spent all our summers. I think that's what I'd like -- but as my mom always reminds me (when it comes to potential inheritance), I won't be there so it's more a matter of what my heirs will want.

I would have liked to be in one of the family plots -- but the New York ones date from the 1800s, and I'm not sure there's room at the inn.

Bev Sykes said...

Once I'm dead, I figure those who survive me can put me wherever it most convenient/desirable for them. It won't matter to me. If I were to express a preference, I'd feel more strongly about being buried with my 2 sons than with my husband, but I'm perfectly happy to leave it up to those who either want to visit my grave or who don't give a fig about visiting me after I'm gone.

Kris said...

I've always thought the notion of having your shell preserved all life-like and ever'thing was really, really weird. I mean, why? Anyway, I have contemplated similar situations, since my husband & I have moved and settled far from our origins. Do we get buried here? Or back there? And if we get buried back there, do we do it in the little podunk cemetery where all his people were buried? Or the podunk cemetery where all my people were buried? Neither town is one we ever lived in. It's ridiculous, I concluded, and since I think the whole embalming/coffin thing is bizarre, I've requested that my shell be cremated. Because there will likely need to be some kind of memorial or recognition or something, I've left instructions that my husband and my best friend Cindy are to divide the ashes between them. Cindy is to take her half to Tahiti and scatter them off a cliff or something cool like that.

Because Rick and I are fans of the British sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf, he has solemnly agreed that he will use his half of my ashes to sprinkle on the sidewalk when it gets icy.

Goofy, I know, but no more so than elaborate burials. : )

Love your blog, by the way. I'll be back to read more.