How do you inter your loved ones when you don’t have a family cemetery, strong ties to a particular religion, you don’t have children who might want a gravesite to visit, you worry about future generations razing graveyards as population grows and land is needed, blah blah blah blah?
Tim died in March.
Barbara died in July.
My father (Jay) died in January of 2002 and his ashes have been on my bookshelf since about 2007 or so. More because I didn’t know what to do with them rather than any deep need to keep them (although I do have some of them in a small urn on my mantle, and some ashes may be scattered around at a few State Parks in Florida – but I can neither confirm nor deny that).
What to do with Tim? I knew I wanted him out at Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery. They’re a beautiful, natural/green burial space. Green meaning no embalming, and everyone buried is in a biodegradable shroud, coffin, or urn. Yes, they take cremains! They have a pet burial ground, too, which I think is sweet. Anyway. I knew I wanted Tim here, unless his parents felt strongly about him being buried in any sort of family plot up in South Bend that I didn’t know about. Tim never talked about it, so I don’t know what his wishes were, so… you get what you get, my dude. I didn’t want to do it in summer, though. My god. Have you been outside in Gainesville between May and October? Holy high humidity, Batman. So I wanted to wait until the weather cooled down. But, fuck. The weather cooling down also lines up with … my birthday. And Thanksgiving. And Christmas. And New Year’s. And the anniversary of my dad’s death. And Tim’s birthday. So when can I do that, without… muddying the waters of a lot of important holidays for a lot of people?
What to do with Barbara? Send her back to Canada? Can you… do that? With cremains? Just… ship them up to her brother? That seemed… well, I mean, it would be a choice. And as with Tim’s parents, if he and his wife had felt strongly that they’d want Barbara somewhere near their mother….? I’d be happy to do what would make people happy. But they didn’t feel strongly about it. And she loved nature, wildlife, and birds, so… hey, what about Prairie Creek?
What to do with my dad? Is it selfish to keep him on my bookshelf, if I do something with Barbara? They had a really good relationship. I kind of like the idea of reuniting them. But do I…. reunite them by keeping Barbara on my bookshelf as well? If I do that, should I also keep Tim? It would be weird to keep my dad and my stepmom but shuffle my husband off to a place.
Also, then… that’s a lot of burials. Three? Right after each other? Do I have that in me? Or do I do something big for Tim, something big for Barb, and then either… I don’t know, toss my dad in with Barbara when nobody is looking? Or come back later and add him? Or do a big thing for dad and Barbara together? Do I have it in me for two burials? Well, how’s this, then… if I’m burying them all in the same location… what about just … doing them all at the same time? Near each other?
I happened to be out at Prairie Creek for a Pride Festival a few weeks ago, and the Cemetery had a booth. So I asked, uh, can two people go in the same … hole? Grave? Not, like, near each other – although if my husband could be near, that’d be great, but… could they be buried together?
Yes, yes they could. And in fact, depending on what I wanted, Tim could be buried right next to them. And if I wanted, also, if I chose a plot large enough for four, I could also be buried there when it’s my time (note: not any time soon, gawd willing and the creek don’t rise). Which… well, that’s not something that I want to think about. Of course, I’m also taking care of three people right now who ALSO didn’t think about it, or make plans, so …. yeah.
But what if? What if I don’t die around here? What if however I die, there’s nothing left of my body? Or they never find it? And what if I meet someone – not necessarily to marry, but to be with? What do they do when I die? Bury me with my former husband? What do they do? Do they… go in there with me, when they die? Do they go near us all so we can have some truly fucked up Ghost Thanksgiving? Ghostgiving? Anyway. Yeah. Talk about a brain spiral that I didn’t need to get started on.
Fortunately (?) the place I found, the one that I said “oh, that’s perfect” upon seeing it, is only large enough for two cremation graves. So Daddy and Barbara will go in one, and Tim will go in the other, and I can go … somewhere else.
So… On Saturday, January 14th, 2023, at 1:00 PM – and don’t worry, I’ll do a much more formal, information-laden post later – we’ll be doing a small burial service for Tim Conyers, Barbara Haldeman, and Jack C. Haldeman II. There will be a larger … uh, after party? Wake? out at my property, later that evening, probably starting around 5 PM or so. Again, more formal invitation post coming in December. This was really all I could manage today.