Several years ago, my beloved Aunt Leticia died suddenly and was buried next to her husband in a quaint cemetery plot on Nantucket Island on a very stormy afternoon. For whatever reason, I started thinking about where I might want to be buried. This had never before been a topic of conversation at the dinner table.
My husband Tom and I talked about our options. Tom is a nationally recognized risk manager for wealthy families. For thirty years, Tom has weighed and assessed a myriad of societal, familial, and financial risks and has managed the wealth for the families he serves, as well as many organizations. He is all about planning!
Luckily we were in agreement. The decision was made to buy a burial plot or cemetary plot in our Town's cemetery. We wanted a place for our kids to (perhaps) visit us. Lo and behold, we discovered that there was little "vacancy" in our Town's cemetery. In fact, there were only a few spaces left for a family burial plot for six-eight family members.
Cemeteries are running out of space! Read this if you don't believe me!
We picked out a sunny spot, made the purchase, and have a certificate of deeded ownership to show for it.
Timing in life seems to be everything. My mother-in-law , Monie (Ramona), moved from the Midwest to New Hampshire to be near us and died shortly after 9/11, just a few months after learning she had cancer. Monie had lived in NH for one year. Though she grew up in Missouri, when she died, Monie was buried in our family burial plot. Little did we know that our pre-planned purchase of a cemetery plot would make it easier on us upon Monie's death.
Within a few short years, Tom's Dad, John, was buried beside her.
"Carpe Diem" is boldly carved in the gravestone that marks our family burial plot. "Seize the Day" - our family motto!
Nonnie always told me that she wanted to be buried at Mount Hope Cemetery, alongside her parents and her baby brother (who died as a toddler) and with other various family members that she loved. Today there are only a few spaces remaining in the coveted "family plot". Since Mom died first, she got a spot. Discussions arose amongst the living family members as to who will get the coveted last "'vacant" spots. First come first serve?
There is simply not enough room for everyone. Soon, there will be "No Vacancy".
On the other hand,my Dad, Boo, had always wanted to be buried with his parents in Albany, New York in his "family plot". I remember the two of them bantering back and forth with Nonnie stating there was "no way" she would be buried in Albany with her in-laws! Boo would reply: "well, the last one standing will get to make that final decision!"
Here's what I suggest you ask yourself - then be sure to communicate your wishes to someone:
- Do I want to be buried?
- Where do I want to be buried?
- Are there cemetery plots available to purchase?
- Do I want other family members to be buried with me?
- Do other family members want to be buried with me?
- Do I want a grave marker?
- Do I want a monument?
- What do I want to be inscribed in my grave marker?
- Are there any family members I don't wish to be buried with? (Ha!)
As it turns out, Boo is the last one standing. And he has changed his mind since Nonnie died. He recently informed me of his burial wishes. Thank goodness he told me because it would not have been something I would ever have guessed! Just goes to show, it never hurts to ask! I will most likely revisit this topic with Boo - to make sure he hasn't changed his mind.
Now, I can check that question off of Boo's Bucket List.
There's always Option B......
Your comments are welcome and please feel free to share any unusual cemetery plot stories with me.