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Grave Robbers

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
written by Java Junkie

The pain and sorrow is what most people relate to when someone they know suffers the loss of someone close to them. Typically "the arrangements" are handled by one person and are really not thought about or at least spoken about unless the concern of financial burden is present. Decisions about what kind of service and who should be contacted seem as though they'd be made without much mental duress, leaving all the room for the emotional strain that a person would need. That is how I always assumed it was, anyway.

As the days grow nearer to my mother and grandmother's dual memorial service, however, I find out evermore how wrong I was. Today I got a nice good look into the seedy life that is running a cemetery. In 1975 my grandparents bought two plots and two vaults. In 1995 my mother bought a plot next to my grandparents'. While both my mother and grandmother wanted to be cremated, they wanted their ashes to be placed in their plots next to my grandfather. A month ago my brother contacted the cemetery and informed them that we'd like to have the joint service on August 20th. We really had/have no other choice for dates. My Aunt lives in New Mexico and would be here during that time, leaving shortly thereafter and Sunday is the only day of the week both my Tover and Monkey share as a day off from work. The cemetery had no problem with this and was happy to arrange it. Of course what they were most happy about we wouldn't find out until last week.

At the end of last week my Tover called them to give details as to time and whether or not we'd need the chapel and they informed him that since they're not typically open on Sundays that there would be an "overtime" charge of $200. He was a bit upset that this wasn't told to us originally and he and I discussed how to proceed. The cemetery suggested that we have the service on Sunday but that they take care of the cremains "at (their) convenience." We both feel that it's very important to us to know my mother and grandmother were actually laid to rest and not just thrown in a trash can or something not to mention the closure of it. My brother nailed it, saying "I kind of need the period at the end of the sentence."

After talking about it we decided to sell the two vaults that wouldn't be used (my Aunt wants her cremains tossed off a cliff and neither Tover or I are interested in the vaults for our own use) back to the cemetery to pay for the "overtime." I placed the phone call today to the cemetery to find out if that was acceptable. I was told, after some hemming and hawing, that yes they would do that. The woman said she'd have to speak to her supervisor to find out the details and call me back. When she did she told me that the figure she had given my brother only a few days before for the overtime charges was incorrect. The amount was actually double that because supposedly she had given Tover over time charges based on Saturday's rate not Sunday's. She also told me that they wouldn't credit us with the amount that the two vaults were worth today but rather what my grandparents paid for them in 1975 - a figure she didn't have right then coincidentally. After hearing this I said that I was almost positive that the paperwork had been kept and that my brother would be able to find out "if you need." She stammered and then said she would call me back as soon as she found the contract. She called about a half an hour later and said that they would be able to credit us $195 for each vault, essentially paying for the overtime charges. I am 100% confident that had I not stated my brother had the paperwork she would have given me a MUCH lower figure.

Let me state here and now if anyone ever so much as considers putting me, ashes or otherwise, into a cemetery I will return from the grave and haunt them for the rest of their lives. Who would have thought that those that are entrusted to lay our loved ones to rest for all eternity would turn out to be such shysters.
11:29 AM ::
  • What is wrong with this sentence-"chapel...not open on Sundays"? WTF? It's a CHAPEL. A room dedicated to GOD. We have a minister giving up Sunday afternoon with his family to come and preside over a service for two people he never met, and the cemetery wants EXTRA MONEY??? Goddamn motherfuckers. I'm sorry, but they are. They are cheating you out of the value of those vaults. You probably could have put them on Craigslist and got twice that much. Fuckers.

    By Anonymous Elizabeth, at 7:32 PM  
  • There is, I am given to understand, a LOT of money in the funeral business. Sad that people should have to b faced with that at a time inherently stresful enough.

    By Blogger kittenpie, at 9:40 PM  
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