|Seven-foot SpongeBob grave marker (Deathandtaxesmag.com)|
Why Being Unique is Not Always Your Best Bet
by Lisa K. Vaeth
An employee of the cemetery had originally approved the design; however, it turned out they did not have the authority to do so. Spring Grove has agreed to pay for the refabrication after discovering many community members were offended by the larger-than-life headstones. You will notice in the photo that there are two markers – one was installed for the deceased’s twin, who is still alive.
|Seven-foot tall monuments in Cincinnati's Spring Grove Cemetery (Ref.)|
|WLWT.com news photo|
How about the stones that are next to these? Would you want people trudging all over your Mom or Dad’s graves just to be able to see this? Cemeteries are meant for quiet reflection. They should not be treated as party venues. When you give a family this kind of leeway it infringes upon the others buried beforehand.
In this country there are definitely cemeteries that allow for unique self-expression and families who “design” these types of stones should look for one that would not only allow it, but welcome it. Unfortunately, this cemetery was not the right fit.
Then there is the real issue of long term maintenance. What happens when and if they get knocked over, break, etc. in 150 years? Many people don’t realize that the headstones are the responsibility of the family, not the cemetery. So, unless you have young relatives with a great deal of extra money lying around to fix their predecessor’s headstones, you may wish to consider a simpler monument that fits in with the cemetery.
Contrary to what you may believe, having a monument stand out in a cemetery is NOT a good thing. The attention it attracts is generally negative, makes it a target for vandalism and does not give the deceased the respect they deserve. In this case, a small cartoon character on the stone would have honored the person’s admiration just as easily. Everyone grieves in different ways and wants to honor their loved ones in a dignified manner, however, it is important to think long-term and also about how the impact of your decision will affect others.
|Refabricated headstones for deceased Kimberly Walker and twin sister Kara (Ref.)|
Lisa Vaeth has overseen 28 Jewish cemeteries in Greater Hartford, Connecticut, for well over a decade. These cemeteries were abandoned by synagogues that folded and civic organizations that no longer exist. The Association of Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Hartford stepped in 30 years ago to ensure these sacred burial grounds are properly maintained to show our deep respect to those community members who came before us. We are funded by Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford’s annual campaign and through funding from the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.