I always thought it was wasteful and ridiculous. Until I lost someone I dearly loved and was denied an invitation to the funeral. And then she was buried in Ireland, of all places. It has always been a pain in my heart that I didn’t get to ritually say goodbye.
Then I had a really interesting experience: my mother, who is 76 years old, lost both her parents in one year, when she was 12-13. When she became an adult, she turned her back on her aunt, who had rasied her, and never returned to the place she grew up, or talked to any of her other relatives.
She told me stories all my life about her childhood, where she grew up, her parents, whom she worshipped (they died before she could experience teen hatred of them.) etc. There was always a sort of fantastical unreality to it.
Then she went back to live there when she was about 70, even reconnecting with some old high school chums. My sisters and I visited her there, and part of the visit was a trip to the cemetary, where I saw the graves of my grandparents that I had never known. I cannot tell you how strangely moved I was by the experience. It was very weird…suddenly they were real to me in a way they never had been. Here I was, looking at the graves they had been buried in more than half a centruy before. I knew there was nothing but bones beneath my feet, but it was unexpectedly meaningful.
So, while I still vote for cremation, the resonance and meaning of a gravesite is understandable to me now.
This is a non-smoking area. If we see you smoking, we will assume you are on fire and act accordingly.