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Take care of your own in this life...and after

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By Alice Du Pont

I go to Sunnyvale Cemetery at the end of South Stewart Street fairly often. My parents and my oldest brother are there, side by side. It may sound morbid to some people but it gives me great pleasure to "visit" them. I feel a sense of relief when I walk away.

Sunday was a beautiful day and while I was doing much needed housework, I decided to go to the cemetery. I needed to tell them all of the good things that have been going on in my life. I also needed to say out loud some of the things I am reluctant to talk about to anyone.

I brought fresh-looking spring flowers. I placed silk white roses mixed with daises with yellow centers for my mother, and purple African violets and blue hydrangea for my father. I placed the arrangements on their headstones.

I looked around at some of the gravesites and wondered why people don't take better care of the final resting place of their loved ones’ bodies. It appeared that at some graves no one had been there to tend them since they were buried. People are different. It dawned on me that quite a few people go to the cemetery like they go to church: Christmas, Easter and Mother's Day. Those are the days when the most flowers seem to pop up.

Even then, many seem to toss them toward the grave and not bother to set them upright. It's as if they want to put the flowers down and leave as quickly as possible. They don't take much care, if any, in weeding the area around the headstones.

I recently had a conversation with the gentleman who was in charge of cemeteries for the city. He said many people are under the misconception that since it's a city cemetery, the responsibility falls on the city to clean up gravesites. Not true.

Actually, when a burial plot is purchased (they run about $500 each) it is your personal property. You are responsible for keeping it clean and tidy, which includes removing dead live flowers and faded silk flowers. The city will mow common areas and plots that have not been sold but that is it.

But in death, as in life, people sometimes take care of those they love and sometimes they don't.

E-mail your comments and suggestions to me at adupont@gadcotimes.com.