The Shell of a Life

When watching television,  it is amazing how many times there is a scene where a person visits a cemetery filled with beautiful trees and scenery and talks to the well manicured grave of a loved one.  It is very sentimental and it seems to help the character move forward from any problem they may have or just they fact they miss them.  

When we have someone we care about die, we see that the soul, life, sparks or character (whatever you believe it is) of that person disappear and there is just the body or shell, as some people call it.  

The Ancient Romans held that the soul of man, although separated at death from the body, hovered around the place of burial for its continued peace and happiness, and required constant attention from the descendants in the form of offerings of food and drink.  Should the offerings be discontinued, the Romans thought that the soul would cease to be happy, and even become a spirit of evil to bring harm upon those who had neglected the proper rites.  This is from the book, “The History Of American Funeral Directing”.

There was once a stubborn, out spoken, military minded elder man who’s wife had died and he visited her grave everyday till his death.  If fact, maybe more then once, cause you could see where he parked his car and a perfect walking path to her grave.  You could even tell the exact spot where he would stand.  Even though it was just her body or shell, he would honor her everyday by going to her grave.  Did it help him or did he never get through the grief process??  That is only for him to know.  We all handle a death or loss in different ways.  It is up to us to figure out what is best.

I have only observed this very few times in recent years.  But, most of the time it is people who grew up in a different generation or a family who has lost a child.  I do believe it also boils down to a families faith.  

Today, in today’s society, we honor or celebrate the spirit or life of a individual but we just don’t have concern for the body or shell that held that spirit and life.  What I mean by this, that more families are choosing cremation and scattering ashes.  They don’t bury ashes in a cemetery.  Lot of the time it is cost of the service or family is separated across the globe that decides what the family choose for services of their loved one.  Today, there are ways and option when working in between funeral home and a family when it comes to cost.

Don’t get me wrong, if a individual request for you to scatter their remains in desired spots, that is great.  Scatter a little bit of ashes and either bury or keep the remainder of the ashes.  But, when it comes to families, does or does it not help them that there is no permanent place or permanent stone to visit or honor their loved one ever now and again.  

As for me, my mother died a couple years ago, I had her cremated after shipping her body to Kansas from California to be able to say my final goodbyes.  As in other posts, I have mentioned that my mother was in a nursing home for 30 years.  I knew the time was coming that I would no longer be able to see her.  I had her cremated with intentions of take her back to Nevada to bury her with her family.  But, I still have her ashes and not ready to take her all the way across the country and not be able to visit her grave very often.  My mother was already gone to a lot people cause she was in the nursing home for so long.  But, not to me, so I do want to give her a permanent place and monument to know that my mother will never be forgotten and that she was a important part in the world to me.  That is me, believe me I know that everybody has different beliefs and thoughts.

Perfect example is memorial day, hundred of people go out to cemeteries of loved ones and place flowers or just visit.  Some families spend hours just telling stories and remember the times they had together.  But, there are more and more people not going to cemeteries because there is not a place to go and know that your loved one’s shell is in that permanent place they can go honor them and reflect on the great memories with other family members.    

With scattering cremated remains, that person really does disappear from our lives and are forgotten by many.  I see families at the cemetery after service going to other family member’s graves and tell stories and share memories.  Sometimes, they laugh and sometimes they cry.   Either sad or happy, you get a family together and can reflect.  For just a short time you remember how that person made you feel either happy or sad.

When I conduct a service and if we go to the cemetery, I walk around and look at monuments of people.  Lot of times, I see people I knew or helped.  It sometimes brings back good and some times not so good memories of the individual that I had forgotten or it makes me think about the family of the deceased and wonder how they are doing.  Sometimes, I give them a call or when I see them tell them I was thinking about them when I was visiting their loved one at cemetery.  It makes that person feel good that someone was thinking of them.  In today’s fast past world we don’t take time to stop, reflect or visit with people.  Believe me I know how time just flies bye.

The next time you are in a cemetery take sometime and pay your respect to grave of a family member or a friend.  Maybe, give the family or a friend a call to just visit and see how they are doing.  Showing care to another person has been lost.
   

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