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Crazy Cemetery Stories: Places of not-so-final rest

Updated on November 3, 2012
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Time for the sixth in my collection of little stories based on my office job at a cemetery. As always I will begin by saying never do I mean disrespect by recounting these tales. Quite simply, when when you bury nearly a dozen dearly departed souls a week, sometimes odd things happen. And what is odd to one person is perfectly normal to another. I have the utmost respect for the wishes of families and the customs of other cultuers. But sometimes my imagination can't help but take some of the unusual circumstances and wonder about all those little details I was not privy to.

Not-so-final Rest

When we think of a grave in suburban USA, we think of a place of final rest, where the remains of our dearly departed will be safe and sound and undisturbed forever. Not always the case. Believe it or not, it is perfectly allowable to change from place to place. And it happens more often than you think. Why on earth would someone move a loved one from one grave to another? There are plenty of reasons. I will share with you some of the more unusual cases.

Honey, I don't care how big the ring is. Your mother is NOT living with us!
Honey, I don't care how big the ring is. Your mother is NOT living with us! | Source

It’s her or me!

A couple came to the cemetery to purchase a niche for the urn of the gentleman’s deceased mother. They did not seem upset in the least, leading me to believe this was not an unexpected passing or not a recent passing. Upon examining the paperwork I learned it was the latter.

The woman had been deceased nearly 20 years! For all that time her urn sat on her son’s TV stand. So why on earth would he now, almost two decades after her passing, after seeing her every day, would he be closing her up in a cemetery niche? Well, this couple was also engaged to be married.

Something makes me think that his fiancé was not all that inclined to share their new home with dear old mom. I sure hope mom was happy to see her boy finally settled down and was more than obliged to move out on her own. And if not, I hope she at least has a little fun at her daughter-in-law's expense!

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Would you mind moving over a bit dear?

And then there is Mr. Fox who, less than two years after laying his wife to rest, decided to move her. Not far. Just one grave to the left. Into the space that was reserved for him. And why is this? I can only assume that it was a failure to think ahead.

At this particular cemetery it is customary that, when standing at the foot of the grave looking up at the head, the husband is on the left and the wife is on the right. Why? Because the woman is always right, of course! (That is what I was told and I am sticking to it). And so when Mr. fox selected which of his two graves he wished to place his wife in, he selected the one on the right. He was to go to her left. And that is how she was buried.

If Mrs. Fox was placed where her husband requested, what could be the problem? Well, to the left of the space reserved for Mr. Fox lay the remains of his wife’s mother. Yes indeed. His mother-in-law. I have a very strong feeling that as he visited his dearly departed wife it occurred to Mr. Fox that his place of final rest was to be between his wife and his mother-in-law!

Now I am sure he loved both women dearly, but I don’t believe I know a single man that wants to spend eternity laying between those two women! And so Mr. Fox endured the red tape and hefty fees to scooch his wife over. I am sure she wanted to be next to dear old mom anyhow. Right?

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For Sale By Owner

This has got to be the strangest request in the six years that I worked in the cemetery business. To this day I am bewildered by the question and the reaction to my response. I received a call from a woman in need of a grave for her recently deceased uncle. She did not seem distraught in the least, which is not all that uncommon. She had an unusual accent that even to this day I am unable to place.

In her peculiar accent, she asked if we rented graves. I very politely explained that we did not, but if she could tell me her needs perhaps we could find a way to accommodate her. She very matter-of-factly said that she wished to rent a grave to bury her uncle and once he was reduced to bones she would like to remove him and send him back to the “old country”.

Being the kind of person that will do anything to help another, I tried my best to offer an alternative. There was nothing objectionable about her request except one detail. We absolutely did not rent graves. She would have to purchase one. It would be permissible to remove her uncle from that grave at any time as long as she got the proper permissions and paid the fees.

Once her uncle was removed, she would be welcome to sell that grave to anyone she wished, just like you would sell a piece of furniture in the classifieds. Yes, folks. It is perfectly legal in NY to sell a used grave so long as the remains are lawfully removed. And you don’t have to tell the new owners that uncle Bob was in there!

She wanted nothing of my offer. Not only did she not appreciate my attempt at a resolution, but she became increasingly furious that we did not offer rental service. The conversation came to the point where I simply stated that we could do nothing for her. Conversation over. I do not know what happened to her or her uncle. I do hope that his old bones find their way to where they rightfully belong.

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    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Eviejo - you are right. that quote is perfect! the real things i have witnessed trump anything i could make up... the song is a great fit too! Thanks! very happy you liked it!

    • Eviejo profile image

      Eviejo 5 years ago from Denver, CO

      ' Tis strange - but true; for truth is always strange;

      Stranger than fiction; if it could be told.

      - Lord Byron

      Boy does this fit your story! lol

      I loved it, Dana! Very entertaining!

      I hear "People Are Strange" by The Doors playing in the background as I read this! LOL

      Great work!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Bill - Buried in work. Very fitting phrase. I used to find myself buried in burying all the time! :)

      I was half way through a different hub when I felt like changing gears and I wrote this. Glad you liked it. I always appreciate your comments. Your feedback really helps to keep me moving forward.

      I totally love that you appreciate that I am warped, one of my more endearing qualities. That is one of the many reasons I like you back :)

      Hope you manage to dig yourself out from under all that work and anjoy yourself a little!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      KD - Yes. It is the request that amazes me the most. Even more than the family that wanted to cremate thier mother in their yard. I don't find that all that strange. But something about that lady, wow!

      Glad you liked my little stories. I saw so many crazy things that soemtimes I think my stories are just me rambling on about my day. Nothing speacial. So when hubbers take that time to let me know they liked them, I really appreciate it.

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Jools99 - I can see renting if that is customary in that polace. Liek if they transfer skeletal remains to a catacombs. But not in upstate NY!

      As fot dear old Mr. Fox. Yes. When you are gone you are gone. I tell myself that. ANd many other people do the same. You would be amazed how quickly your mind changes when you are actually making your plans! I have some good stories coming about that topic!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Sunshine - I absulutely love your attitude! If it's funny I say laugh at it. Who says you have to be serious all the time?! Maybe it is a little morbid, but I think it is just human.

      Keep on laughing. I will be there laughing with you!

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      "Excuse me, can we rent a grave so my uncle can properly rot to bones so I may send him back to my home country"? Um...I can see why you would be, still, bewildered by that kind of question. Wow, now I'm gonna be thinking of that for a while (LOL). I thought this hub was very cool and funny!

      -KD

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Goodness me Dana, whoever thought of renting a grave! I can understand the guy not wanting to be interred for all eternity next to his mother-in-law but hey, when you're gone, you're gone - I wonder if he thought it would seem odd though when family visited his grave to find him in the middle?

      Voted up and shared.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I am buried in work right now but I had to find time to visit your site and read this...great job as always and hilarious in a very warped way....just another reason I like you. :)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hilarious stories for such dark moments!! Thanks for sharing the laughs. Or is laughing about these situations morbid? Oh well, I'm still going to laugh!:)

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Docmo - you can steal anthything you like for one of your works of fiction.Tthey far surpass any of my little ditties! I would love to see what you come up with. But when you srike it rich as a famous, writer I better be getting a big fat check! :)

      You seem to know as well as I, if you take everything too seriously it would be a miserable life in those lines of work. I had plenty of sad sad stories, but for now I want to keep it light hearted.No shortage of material, that is for sure. When I started the job I thought it would be quiet. Ha! Thay place was a madhouse!

      Thanks for the tip. I have a horrible habit of writing my hubs at night and more times than not bedtime creeps up much to quick. Unfortunately I cannot get by on only a few hours of sleep. I plan to go back to at least a few hubs and make some eddits and additions. I will keep this in mind. I really appreciate you taking the time to help me out!

      And Thank You for the votes!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      cat - i did wonder for a while if it was a joke. sometimes i still do. but she was far to serious. i cannot believe she actually go mad at me for sauying no!!! what an odd woman.

      happy to make you smile. thanks for the votes!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Airbrushing 1968- glad to add some fun to your gay...what a great jok. i can honestly say i have never heard that one. it was usually the typical "I hear people are dying to get in there!"

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      mizjo - i thought it was funny as heck while it was happeneing. i honestly thing he forgot that the mother-n-law was over there and just went with the traditional arrangement. i bet he got quite a shock when he wen to visit and saw his spot. you know, it cost him nearly 2,000 dollars to have her moved over!!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Finding humour in most unusual places is always a gift. I am well aware in my line of duty that there are a million quirky stories associated even with Death and the Diseased. This is a wonderful collection Dana, the infinite variety of people out there makes all our jobs chock full of such stories. There are some priceless ones here. As Rachel has mentioned above' Pardon me, do you rent graves' had me chuckling while my story telling mind couldn't help thinking that would make a corker for the start of a story! I may steal it for a bit of fiction he he! Funny, readable and well shared, Dana. voted up and across, of course!

      Dana if this is a series of stories you could group them together so they automatically link to the previous and next at the bottom.

    • theclevercat profile image

      Rachel Vega 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      "Pardon me, but do you rent graves?" I would have looked around for the hidden camera, certain that a friend was playing a trick on me!

      Great hub, voted up and funny. Thanks for the smiles!

    • Abrushing1968 profile image

      Aaron Rushing 5 years ago from USA- Florida

      What great stories. It was fun reading them. Thanks for sharing.

      By the way, the problem with selling graves is Business is always in the whole. ROFL!

      God Bless

      ABR

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Funny, Dana. I like the one where the guy would not lie between his wife and her mother. Who on earth made that arrangement in the first place? I can't imagine the mother-in-law wanting to deal with the son-in-law for all eternity!

    • shea duane profile image

      shea duane 5 years ago from new jersey

      Funny and interesting. I bet you have even stranger stories! I'm going to check out your other hubs.