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I have mixed feelings. You must take into consideration that here in New Orleans our cemeteries are unique and very special to us. So I grew up visiting the cemetery on All Saints Day to honor family members who died.


I never thought about cremation as a child because at one time it was against our faith. Now it is accepted but it is recommended that our cremains are placed in a grave. Most families here have family plots. I'm not even close to my family anymore so I don't even know where I wish to be. I do think that I want to be cremated. I want to have this settled. I don't want my children to have to think about these things for myself or my husband.


I don't visit the cemetery that often these days. I will go on All Saints Day. It's very customary here to do so. There are flowers on practically every grave. There are masses said. It's nice to remember those that I loved so much, my father, my grandparents and other relatives and friends.


Planning for these things feels sort of odd. I want to to get it over with. I put it off because it's kind of creepy to think about. I feel like a lot of people are choosing cremation more these days. Funerals are becoming ridiculously expensive. Such a waste of money, as far as I'm concerned. Simple funerals are nicer to me. To each his own, though.


How important is it to have a place for relatives to visit you after you die? I don't feel strongly about this. My oldest daughter visits my father's grave. She was very close to him. My youngest one is further away at school and doesn't get to go. I don't like the idea of having anyone's ashes in an urn to keep on a mantle or wherever.. What happens to ashes eventually as people die off? I don't want someone to keep my ashes. For some, they like having the ashes close. I don't especially like ashes placed in lockets or anything like that either. Just seems odd to me. I can appreciate that others like it, just isn't for me.

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I hope to be cremated. I do not care what happens to the remains. I do not believe, either for my much beloved pets, nor for my much beloved family members, in having "a place to go." They are with me. I am never a second apart from them. They are with me always. I love old cemeteries; always did; my Dad took me walking through them when I was just a tyke. I love the monuments, but they were an utter waste of money, if not artistry; some are most exquisite. People all do it their own way. Whatever bring comfort is good with me.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 3, 2019
I agree about the beauty of cemeteries. Some of ours are very beautiful.
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Viewings are not at all common in my part of Canada. I think of them as being particularly morbid. Why put the body on view? I really do not understand it at all.

Animals, all but one of my pets has been buried where I lived at the time. I had my first dog Cassie cremated. She died at the end of December and the ground was frozen so I could not dig a grace for her. She is in a beautiful potter urn on my hearth. She can stay there for now. One day I will take her ashes to my favourite beach.

I do have a funny story about cremains. My ex's Uncle Alan died and nobody could decide what to do with his cremains. His sister my former mil could not decide and did not want him in her house. Uncle Alan was in my linen closet for years, at least 12.

And surprise surprise when my Ex took what he wanted from the house, he did not take his Uncle. I was not going to be left with the responsibility of the cremains. If I had dispersed them, everyone in my ex's family would have been made, but none of them wanted him either.

When we were having one of the separation meetings I brought Uncle Alan along, put him on the table and told my ex to take him with him. I have not idea where Uncle Alan is now, but it is not my problem.

I did learn quite a bit about death and the funeral industry when he died and it made it much easier when I went with Mum when step dad died.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 3, 2019
Geeeez,

That is funny about your uncle.

I don’t like viewing either. They terrified me as a child because my great aunt told me the deceased person was only sleeping. I was afraid to go to sleep at night. I guess they didn’t know any better about how to explain it to a young child.
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My dad was cremated; some of his ashes are in Lake Michigan the rest are in a cooking jar. However, his ashes will go into his family plot..he will end up being next to his parents. As for me, I do not want to be cremated! I will probably be with my dad's family plot and so will be my SO, but who knows!

As far as what happens to the ashes of family members after family pass away...who knows, but you can have ashes buried with other family members. For example, I have it written out that when I pass my animals ashes are to be buried with me.

Just a thought!
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 2, 2019
I didn’t keep any of my animals ashes. A lot of people do though. I think animals will be in heaven. I believe they have souls.
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My father was cremated and his ashes were placed in the family plot. I do get comfort visiting him at the grave site. I like planting flowers in the summer and bringing flowers on special occasions. I do not want to be cremated. I would like a simple funeral Mass only. I would love to choose the guest list!
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 2, 2019
Earlybird,

I like Mass only too. I know several people who have done that. They did not do a wake at a funeral home.

The viewing was at church for a short while before the Mass was said. Simply done but very nice. Some people don’t even do a viewing before. Just the Mass.

We only did a short graveside service for my brother. The priest met us at the cemetery.
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I agree with you concerning your feelings about remains of beloved people in
their life who have passed away. I respect the feelings of those who need
the things you mention to keep themselves close to the ones who have
died. But, as you have stated, it just isn't for me. I am elderly and have lost
many loved ones. I keep all these dear ones in my heart and mind, always
remembering them as they were in life. I keep their pictures close by and
remember all the joys we had together. Remembering brings me happy
thoughts, makes me smile, and sometimes even laugh. I would rather
be a happy person than one who lives with constant sorrow.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 2, 2019
Jonie,

You are delightful! I just read your profile. Why can’t all elderly people have your positive attitude? Congrats on your long, happy marriage!

I too feel people live in our hearts after we die.
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No graves in my family. The last person to be buried died about 60 years ago. We all use cremation and do not use the marble bus lockers found in some cemeteries. I am sorry but that is what they look like to me.

I will be cremated, my Mum will be cremated, my step dad was cremated.

I enoy wandering through old cemeteries, but have no desire at all to have my cremains left in one. My family know to put my cremains in a moving body of water. They know which one, but should I live far away when I die there are acceptable alternatives.

The cemetery where my grandfather was buried has a section for cremains to be buried too. It is a beautiful location overlooking the ocean. Surrounded by forest it is not like a traditional cemetery.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 2, 2019
Tothill,

Hahaha, marble bus lockers! Oh my gosh, what a visual. My husband’s family are in the marble bus lockers then!

I never thought about that before. But I have to tell you that they are in the most expensive cemetery in the city and Lake Lawn Cemetery just built a mausoleum section for the wealthy people’s pets!
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Some people like the idea of a final resting place, but, I'm not so sure about that anymore. I have put off visiting certain people's graves, because, it upsets me. I wish I could go, but, it causes me anxiety. I do have a good friend who died recently and am planning to take his mother to visit his grave soon, as it is out of town and she's not able to drive. I'm not sure how I feel about it. That's a little different than visiting the graves of my family members for some reason, though.

My family has had a plot in a an old private cemetery for many years. Most of my mother's side of the family is buried there. My dad's side is buried in a church cemetery nearby and that is an option too. I haven't decided if I want cremation or regular burial. Or, if I want to use that plot. It's in my city of birth and is really my home. Small, serene and old. The part I would be in is the historic section. My parents will be buried there too, when that time comes. I'm just not sure. I think that my upcoming visit to my friend's grave will help me decide what to do.

I know that I do not want a funeral, only a nice gathering of those who wish at a family member's home for refreshments, music and photos.

My mom worries all the time about having to take flowers to the graves. She wants them to look nice for all the holidays and special occasions. I'm not wild about that.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 2, 2019
Yep, that’s where I am. Just like you, undecided on these things.
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My mother’s ashes were scattered with my sisters in the sea off a beach we went to as children. I visit that beach occasionally, and always remember her there. My BIL’s ashes were recently scattered in the sea at a secluded beach he loved as a child. We had a little service there, with 40 people and a few speeches. It worked for all of us. If you choose something like this, you can still follow the New Orleans custom for a visit and to remember old friends and family members.

We are in the process of moving far from the sea to a small isolated city which does not have a crematorium, so burial is the only option and their cemetery is also something special - even though all the flowers are artificial! I understand that in China it is becoming illegal to have burials, because their cemeteries are taking up too much good farming land. Burning ghats by the Ganges, terrorist burials at sea - there are many different customs, and they all change over time. Do what works for you, with no pressure.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 2, 2019
Interesting about China, huh? Thanks for the reply.
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When I was in college, I often visited my grandmother between classes. Her house was closer than home and she had better food than what was available on campus. Grandma didn't drive and I would ask her if she wanted to go anywhere. She most often wanted to go to the home place, where a couple of her siblings still lived. Every month or so when the weather was fine, she wanted to go to the graveyards where friends and family were buried. Grandma would visit the family graves first, and then walk through the cemetery talking about the people who were buried there - where they had lived, what work they had done or how good a seamstress or cook they were - it was almost like she was visiting each person again. I have a very vivid memory of standing by the gravestones of Grandma's brothers while she told me about their illness and death eight days apart during the 1919 flu pandemic. How Grandma's mother made her healthy children stay outside except for meals and coming inside to sleep. How's Grandma's aunt came to cook and care for the healthy so her mother could care for the youngest. On Aug 31 she buried her oldest, just 17 years old. On Sep 8 she buried her youngest, just 17 months old. My grandmother was 10 when they died.

Although my mother didn't go on same type of visits Grandma did, she always decorated the graves on Memorial day; now I do. I like knowing where my great-grandparents are buried, and the great-greats and the great-great-greats. My family has been in the general area for about 250 years, so I know where the great aunts and uncles are buried too. I find some comfort even in the graves of people that are only names to me. The grave says they were here, they lived here and they died here. One day I will lay in this ground too and the generations beyond me will continue.

I feel a missing hole in one family link. My great-great-grandfather was orphaned in August 1849 and I have not been able to document who his parents were other than his mother's name was Nancy. I cannot find his two young sisters except in the 1850 census either. Crazy isn't it? To miss knowing about someone who has been dead at least 170 years? A research project for now in electronic records and later when I can travel to search old courthouse records.

There's a grave waiting for me just beside my maternal grandparents. Because my severe asthma caused me lots of problems when I worked in smoking offices, I planned and paid for my funeral decades ago before cremation became popular. I will be buried without embalming shortly after death with a small grave side service. There may be a memorial service the following Saturday afternoon. I have no natural children, so I will be just be another grave among the family graves. If I were planning today, I might have chosen to be cremated and bury the ashes in the cemetery.

BTW: In my younger years, I visited on business and vacationed in New Orleans and _loved_ the city. If possible, I will visit again when my care giving days are done.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 2, 2019
TN,

I enjoyed reading about your family history. So many stories, right? Ever wonder what our ancestors would think of today’s world? I do.

New Orleans is unique. We do have interesting cemeteries. I think traditions are passed down. Yes, in our grandparents time visiting the cemetery was very common.
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Thanks, I like your advice. Canoe. It helps. I love nature too.

You live in a beautiful state. We honeymooned there. 😊

We had only seen the Smoky Mountains and we wanted to see your magnificent mountain range. It was breathtakingly beautiful.
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This is such a tough subject. Everyone has differing ideas based on their cultural, religious, and personal backgrounds. For me, I give it minimal importance but I also realize that I’m the exception. The good news is that the funeral industry has a lot more options than they did in decades past. From green burials to having our ashes made in to a coral reef and even having our ashes flown in to space...there are some neat options. Colorado, for example, has the only open funeral pyre in the country. Not for everyone but still an option. I’m fortunate to have a daughter that is a funeral director and she helped me choose what felt right for me. I opted for a green burial in conjunction with planting a pine tree. I want to return to nature. No service. No memorial. Again, everyone is different. My only real advice is to pre-plan if financially possible. And if not, then at least make family members aware of what you would like. I’ve been in both situation: one where arrangements needed to be made without any idea what the person wanted, and the other where the individual pre-paid for exactly what they wanted. At such a difficult time, it’s awful to try to speculate what someone wanted for their final resting place. NHWM, please consider reaching out to a few of your local funeral professionals and see what they have to offer. For some, it’s a business but there are some sincerely caring directors too.
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Tothill Dec 2, 2019
There is an East Indian Crematorium in my community. They do open cremation there and have for perhaps over 100 years. I grew up knowing about it and have assumed that there would be one in all communities with a large East Indian population.
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