Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Facing Mortality

Having a tombstone while still living, definitely forces one to face their own mortality.

During my childhood, youth, and even as a young adult, I thought of death but only in regards to my relatives and ancestors. I don't know if it was an only child thing, but when I was a child, I use to sometimes wake up terrified that something had happened to my parents. My mother would always reassure me that they were okay and that I didn't need to worry. Then throughout junior high and high school, every time the phone range, I was fearful that it was someone calling to say that my maternal granddad had passed, yet when the call finally came during my senior year in HS, I still wasn't prepared.

In my 20s, like most young people of that age, I thought life would go on forever. It didn't phase me that I was already losing friends and classmates by the time of my 10 year HS reunion.

The first time I was forced to think about my own mortality was in my late 20s or early 30s. My mother called to tell me that she, dad, and my Aunt Martha had been discussing burial plots. At the time, my aunt wanted to be buried near my parents and mom wanted to know if I wanted to be buried next to them or did I want to wait, in case I got married. Mainly because I didn't want to think about it (I couldn't even think about their mortality much less my own), I told her I would wait. Eventually, Aunt Martha decided to be buried with her parents and brother (she remembered there was a fourth plot there) and except for mom giving me all the details about her and dad's plots, the subject was actually put to rest until 2007.

In 2007, one of my childhood friend's lost her battle with cancer. No questions were even asked this time. Next thing I knew I had both a plot and a marker. I remember the first time I saw it, I still didn't want to talk about it. But somewhere along the way between then and now, I've come to terms with it and now am always pointing it out to someone. I must say that it was still kind of freaky when I pulled it up on findagrave.com.

Acceptance of your mortality is something most of us will have to face. Acceptance doesn't mean giving up but living each day to the fullest with no regrets because tomorrows aren't guaranteed.

Till next time!


  1. oh wow! i think i would be freaked out too!

  2. Mavis, this is kind of eerie to me, but only because of my own similar experience. I lost my closest brother in 1984 when I was 22 and he was 23. Not long after that, my mother gave me a gift -- a funeral plot with all the fixins! (LOL). I later found out that she got some kind of a deal (buy one get one free, maybe?) when she'd gone to the cemetery where my brother is buried to purchase her own plot. I was quite disturbed by this as a 20-something year old. Really, I didn't know what to make of it! Then, about 7 or 8 years ago, my mother and I visited the cemetery office together to update her plan and mine. Only then, when being exposed to the actual cost of this thing, and how many "particulars" must be worked out, did I fully appreciate the gift that I'd been given over 20 years ago. :)
    But back to you -- I don't think I've EVER heard of anyone having their tombstone already in the ground while they are still living! Seeing this gave me that same spooky feeling I had when I got my "gift", but after the initial shock wore off, I began to realize that it might be a good idea, because I'm assuming it means you can pick your spot.(?)... Sooo... how does that all work, anyway?

  3. Nadasue, this was a gift from the parents or shall I say mom. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure how it worked because the folks plot was purchased several years before mine so I'm still not sure how my mother managed to get a plot for me beside theirs. The only one that doesn't already have a tombstone is my dad because his will be military, and he has to actually be dead before the government provides the tombstone.

    Around here, there seems to be a lot of folks that have tombstones while they are still living. Usually it's where the husband or wife has already passed and the other spouse is still living.

  4. Very freaky, but if I had something similar I think I'd probably make a joke out of it and have my marker say something like "John Patten - Coming Soon, by Popular Demand!"


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