I’ve always been fascinated by memorial art. One purpose of art is to encapsulate and express human experience and emotion. What is more common to the human experience than death and loss? And who can look at the beauty of a memorial like the one above and not feel the grief? I’ve viewed the memorials in many famous cemeteries around the world. During my brief stint as a family service counsellor for a funeral home, my office was in Chicago’s historic Rosehill Cemetery, and I spent a fair amount of time exploring.
There’s been a fairly recent trend amongst cemeteries that the only memorials allowed are the metal plates placed flush with the ground. They’re easier for the cemeteries to maintain: just run a mower right over the plates rather than take the care and time to cut the grass around a headstone. I refuse to go along with it. When I die, I want to be buried in a cemetery that allows headstones, obelisks, mausoleums, statuary.
I don’t expect that my family will be able to afford more than a simple headstone, mind. But a cemetery is a business. They make their money by selling plots. And if people refuse to support cemeteries that are phasing out art in the name of convenience, then cemeteries will have a financial incentive to continue to support memorials that might take time to maintain, but are ultimately timeless.