CEMETERIES AND FAMILIES
Burial of the dead is one of the oldest human traditions. Evolving traditions rich in cultural past but also religious beliefs, that continues to change in our future. As science and technology grow so do future traditions and ever so slowly religious beliefs. Add to that economics and resources that also play a big role in cemetery innovations and changes. The days of sprawling fields of headstones and marble monuments are becoming part of the same past as our ancestors, mostly abandoned as time go’s by.
It troubles me how folks are pushed into the old ways of burial after death, no mention of cremation or permanent memorialization from funeral or cemetery directors. So just what is the best way to respect the loss of a loved one for ever. There still is the traditional burial with casket, vault and headstone then finding an appropriate cemetery. Nowadays Going Green where bio-degradable and or cremated remains is a choice. Also now is liquid cremation, alkaline hydrolysis(cremation with water and lye) in the end you get ash. Cremation allows families many choices for memorializing a love one. Remains can be divided, spread in a favorite location like land or water and some folks just like the keep their loved one’s cremated remains in an urn at home or yard to memorialize. But what happens after your gone, who’s to remember your loved one, or you for that matter. Permanent memorialization like a cenotaph, columbarium, niches and mausoleums, or cremation garden has a more permanent public location. Having a consistent place for healing allows for family and friends to anchor to long after burial is over and preserves your loved one’s legacy with dignity future families can connect to with personal history.
Cemeteries are becoming full, out of room, its hard to find and open spot for burial. Cemetery land is also hard to get and very pricey and add to that the maintenance required for upkeep is pricey. Some big cities are developing open high-rise buildings looking like parking ramps for cremated remain burials. No grass just green carpet with urn and marker as a public cemetery for memorialization of your loved one.
Now this may be all well and respectful way for your loved one’s memorial, I just don’t think it really does much in the way of memorializing a loved one. For one it can be very expensive, hard for families and friends to get to and requires follow up maintenance for families and landlords. To me I see little in the way of respect to the living families and friends for that matter to memorialize your loved one far into the future. Your loved one is soon forgotten as time go’s by making it hard for families and extended families to research or experience long past family that they feel belonging to.
Your family history is very much part of who you are and were you belong in your life at your given time on earth. Also it is what you will be passing on to your future families, your meaningful part of history.
Burial is not a final disposition! When my mom and dad passed, I buried their cremated remains in a cemetery, as they wanted, in existing old family graveyard with family. This did little for me, I felt it was not complete in respect or a memorial deserving for my living family and friends of theirs. And what about our future families that will be part of their legacy, how will this continue to be part of our family. No, I wanted a much better memorial that would not be abandoned because of just location of burial, headstone and obituary.
Genealogy websites are nice to discover your family heritage with old family data and some photos of your family history and now even DNA testing. But still data just seems to miss on a personal level for me, I want to know more, like personalities and old family stories to really feel connected to my past with photos and documents.
I decided to post my family on the Internet, not as a blog or floating obituary. I will build a website, surprising easy to do for an old man in my 70’s. I even researched it first on the Internet and found I could build one for free that will last as long as the Internet and however that gets passed on in the future. This way other family members can join in to add their love and share photos, thoughts, stories and messages all in one place on the world wide web. Travel time, distance and expense is not an issue on the Internet in the years to come, even if humans end up on a different planet.
I made this my personal website to include past and present families as well as extended families to ensure friends can also join in. This has family photos, poems, accomplishments and stories that can be past on to families I will never know.
However other factors one has to consider is fear of existing families feeling the Internet is unsafe to their family’s privacy. So ensure you don’t attach any phone numbers, frequent locations together or complete names to photos, events or locations that Internet robots can collect to pass to hackers and other villains. Website building software has options for you to choose to hide any page, photos or documents from search engines as well. Also keep in mind when using all social websites like Facebook, Google, Twitter and others your stuff will quickly end up in public search sites. True also with publishing anything now days, keep your wits about you and give it good thought before you hit the Publish button. I like to give it a few days to think on before I publish, same with emails if you can.
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Michael J. Hanousek