Would You Sit on Your Own Headstone?

 

I've lived in small towns in Texas all my life. These are towns, that usually have more churches and cemeteries than they do everything else combined. I'm not sure how we fill either of them, but evidently, we do. I have found that a cemetery is place you don't pay much attention to until someone close to you is buried there. Then it becomes a place you visit like visiting a old friend's house.

Having lost a son in 2003 and my dad in 2008, I often visit the cemeteries where they are just to do general maintenance around their gravesites. Both cemeteries have a wonderful maintenance crews that regularly mow and weed-eat, but I go to do the 'usual' tidying up type stuff, like cleaning off the bird droppings, wiping off the grass clippings, watering the grass and changing the flowers. Both locations are scenic and were chosen because of the sense of oneness I feel when I'm there. So, going there is a pleasant experience for the most part. Crying is sometimes included, but that's ok too.

Something I've noticed and I've wondered if it's common everywhere. When a spouse dies the remaining spouse usually purchases a double monument and has it completely filled in with both names and leaves just the death date left to be etched in on their own side. In some cases, like another family in the same cemetery as my son, their teenage son died and they have already placed a triple monument on the gravesite with the son being placed in the middle. The mother and father have already been named on the monument to be placed on either side of the son.

There is another man and woman that I see at the same cemetery quite often. They can be seen watering several sites around this one particular stone. I have even seen them sitting on this stone taking a break and talking to one another. On one visit, they left before I did and I was able to walk over to the stone. I was curious. I found that both names etched on the stone were showing to still be alive! I did later confirm that it was their own stone. They regularly water and tend their own plots and the plots around them.

Since then, I have noticed more and more stones already erected with everything filled in except the date of death. It's evidently the thing to do now. I guess more and more people are wanting to release their family from that task after they're gone. Although I totally agree with pre-planning my own funeral, I'm not sure I'm ready to see my own name etched into my own tombstone. I like the idea of designing my own stone. I custom designed my son's. Some people don't like to think about their own funeral at all. So that leads me to this question:

Photo by Iain MacFarlain at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSvcid=5843&GRid=6532288&
Photo by Iain MacFarlain at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSvcid=5843&GRid=6532288&

Would you want to see your tombstone completely filled in, just waiting for the death date to be filled in?

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If you placed your own tombstone before your death, would you visit the site and sit on your stone?

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Comments 34 comments

Benson Yeung profile image

Benson Yeung 8 years ago from Hong Kong

great read. thanks.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks Benson! Thanks for stopping by! In a recent edition of our local newspaper a regular columnist was commenting on how her daughter finds it morbid that she and her husband already have their tombstone on their future graves. So, there's another one who does it.


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 7 years ago

While I agree that I would do both of those things, I'm leaning more towards cremation. This will sound silly, but I don't like the idea of maggots consuming me (even though I am dead). Also, I feel with nuclear families living in scattered places, that after the first year the visits would dwindle to none at all. I am not totally ok with cremation either, that's just scary. But so far, that's my plan.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks for your comments, Trish! It's not silly. A lot of people feel that way.


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 7 years ago

I suppose, but it's not something I discuss much. Maybe I should put more thought into it.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

LOL, KCC. When you linked to this hub from my hub about Fatherless Fathers Day and I saw the title, my first (smartass as usual) thought was: How in the world could I do that? I'd be DEAD! Now I see what you mean. I think it's lovely that people actually spend time in cemetaries. If you have a legitimate reason to be there, of course.

I am not sure I would pre-purchase a gravesite and headstone and regularly visit it unless some member of my family was already buried there. That, to me, is placing a little too much emphasis on the life hereafter rather than life. But that's just me. Interesting subject and excellent (as always) treatment of it! MM


The Captain profile image

The Captain 7 years ago from The Carribean

I thought the same thing as MM. So I am going to answer the question from that perspective. Yes, i would like to sit on my own tombstone as a ghost...and probably whittle something. It gets awfully cramped down there and I'm sure it would be nice to get out in the sun and air every once in a while. But i wouldn't want anyone else sitting on my stone. That would be rude and I would scare the bejesus out of them.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

But what if the visitors to your tomb brought you a lovely bouquet of brightly colored puffy shirts? Would you make an exception and let them sit down and maybe hoist flagon of rum in your honor?


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

Both my mother in law and my mom had their places reserved after their husbands died, but they didn't have the plaques engraved-- just a blank space. I visited the graves with both of them before they joined their spouses, and thought it must seem a little strange to be visiting your own gravesite. I'm sure they both thought about it.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks for stopping by MM, Captain and Rochelle! It's just something that really fascinates me. Of the people I've talked to about it, the reactions are so varied. Everyone feels differenty about it. Some people seem to feel that a cemetary is a solemn place (like a church or library) where you are to remain silent and respectful. Others feel like it's a place to remember and reflect in whatever way seems appropriate for you.

I'm sure it might seem odd to some that every year, on my son's birthday and death date, a group of gather at his gravesite and release dozens of colorful balloons. It's our way of remembering him. May look a little too joyful for some.


B.T. Evilpants profile image

B.T. Evilpants 7 years ago from Hell, MI

Hi KCC. I think that gathering to release balloons is a beautiful remembrance! And there is no shame in showing joy in celebrating the memory of a loved one.

But to answer your question, if the gravestone thing was an option for me, I don't think it would bother me too much. But given my family's history, I'll probably be stuffed and mounted.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

That raises and interesting thought, BT. Assuming you and your relatives are stuffed and mounted, is there a central place where the whole stuffed lot can be together? It would seem sad to me to think that you might end up over the fireplace of (for example) Farmer Fred, while your parents might end up in a natural history museum somewhere. To be honest, I don't think I've ever given much thought to the afterlife of jackalopes. I have you to thank for raising my consciousness on this issue! MM


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

I think I found some of your family, BT.....

http://www.robbiesgifts4u.com/page/page/1804139.ht...

Take note of the kitchen counter model! LOL


B.T. Evilpants profile image

B.T. Evilpants 7 years ago from Hell, MI

Uncle Dave!! Why didn't anybody call me?

MM, we usually end up in someone's yard, like this- http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v382/Matthoggua/...


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Uncle Dave was looking quite dashing, BT. Not sure I'd want to get up in the middle of the night and find Uncle Dave in his best 'strutting his stuff' pose on my kitchen counter though. Just a tad over the top.


Florida Keys profile image

Florida Keys 7 years ago from Jewfish Key Florida

I also thought it was going to be about coming back after death and sitting on your own stone.....I thought...OK...that'd be cool..and in that vein I'm redesigning mine. I've put in a jaccuzi and a bar!!!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

LOL....sounds like fun, Florida Keys! I'm sure you'll have lots of visitors!


R. Blue profile image

R. Blue 7 years ago from Right here

Might as well make it comfy...you're going to be there for a while..


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

So true, R.Blue. (that rhymes) :)


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Nah, I want to be burnt and my ashes scattered from the top of Table mountain...no worms are going to eat me!


GreyMoon profile image

GreyMoon 7 years ago

KCC I'm biased, as I married you, but great hub :)

Did I mention I love you? xxx


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Awwwwww, I love you too, GreyMoon! Shouldn't you be writing another hub? LOL *cracks whip*


GreyMoon profile image

GreyMoon 7 years ago

Working on ghosts next xxxx


Laughing Mom profile image

Laughing Mom 7 years ago

I actually thought pre-engraved stones were common place. Although I've never heard of anyone tending their own future burial site.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

I think most people are comfortable with having their stone engraved ahead of time if their spouse dies first. I think people start to split opinions when it comes down to how they feel about having your stone done already when no one has died yet. Then it gets even more controversial when you add the 'hanging out there' part. Thanks for stopping by LM!


Laughing Mom profile image

Laughing Mom 7 years ago

Just making my way through your hubs. Actually, I'm fixing to head to bed. It's tomorrow already.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Yup...I'm heading to bed in a few myself......g'nite LM!


Laughing Mom profile image

Laughing Mom 7 years ago

'Night. Fun day tomorrow, spending my b-day in a doctor's office followed by a night of kids bouncing around at a birthday party full of Jupiter Jumps. Better than the surprise party, though.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

I didn't realize it's your b-day tomorrow! Happy B-Day old lady! LOL


Laughing Mom profile image

Laughing Mom 7 years ago

Ha Ha!! A few more years to the top of the hill, but the climb is getting harder and harder. :-)


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

That's the cool thing about being on the 'other side' like I am....it's all easy from here. :)


Laughing Mom profile image

Laughing Mom 7 years ago

Ha! Put on your in lines and lets see how it goes!!! :-)


Rainbow Brite 7 years ago

Never heard of anyone tending their own graves before but I guess it makes sense. Nice of them to tend to the surrounding graves too...making friends early I would suppose. In terms of how cemetaries should be treated, my rule of thumb (and that of most everyone I know) is 1) be respectful (i.e. no defacing tomb stones or taking anything that doesn't belong to you - aside from cleaning up dead flowers, grass clippings, etc.) and 2) remember whomever you're visiting in whatever manner best fits that person and your relationship to that person. I've already decreed that when I die I want all my survivng friends and family memebers to party like rockstars around my grave and just remember to put a lil of everything they're part-taking of in the ground for me. (We're those ghetto people that have to pour out some of our liquor everytime we're talking about the dead while we're drinking, lolz.)


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

LOL.....thanks for your comments Rainbow! I know a lot of people who want their friends to be that way. I think it's cool!

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