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DEATH-SOCCON  2003

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Subject:

Re: Question regarding winter burials

From:

Anne Murcott <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The Social Context of Death, Dying and Disposal of the Dead

Date:

Tue, 14 Jan 2003 23:43:51 +0000

Content-Type:

multipart/mixed

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (163 lines) , murcota.vcf (12 lines)

Dear Colleagues

Stephen Krau makes a good point - it is fascinating, and I too would
welcome
"eavesdropping" on whatever discussion ensues

Having read that little curio about Violet Guymer in which those dying
in the depths of
winter were stored in an outhouse till the spring, I've often wondered
what happened
nowadays....


Anne Murcott


skrau wrote:

> Although Ivan has sent his private e-mail so that not everyone is on the list,
> please include me in your responses.  I am fascinated!
> Stephen Krau
>
> >===== Original Message From "The Social Context of Death, Dying and Disposal
> of the Dead"              <[log in to unmask]> =====
> >Dear Sir:
> >
> >      You have brought forth a very interesting situation.  I must admit I am
> >surprised members of the community are so opposed to delaying the final
> >committal because of inclement weather conditions.  Delaying burials during
> >the winter months was the normal procedure when the vaults were erected
> >(usually late 19th century).  The vault is also necessary to store remains
> >when new sections are being developed (although lots have been sold) or
> >individual family vaults are being erected.
> >
> >       I know of a situation where a cemetery began selling lots in earnest
> >in new sections.  There were quite a few "visitors" in the vault that summer
> >waiting for their final resting place to be landscaped.  One woman would come
> >like clockwork on all holidays to visit her husband sojourning in the vault.
> >Finally, everyone was moved out.  I believe at least a few of the families
> >had another small committal service at the graveside.
> >
> >       Surely there are rules and regulations set up by the Association that
> >address delaying burials during the worst months of winter.  That would be
> >the first verification to make.  Next, is there notification made to anyone
> >purchasing a lot that burials may be delayed.
> >
> >       When you refer to an Association, the assumption I make is that this
> >is a privately owned, nonprofit (as opposed to local government ownership,
> >thereby making it "public") cemetery.  Usually, a private business can
> >determine their own rules and although some members of a community may not
> >like them, they do not have to change due to public pressure.  Of course, no
> >cemetery can afford to turn paying customers away.  The Association would
> >have to weigh the pros and cons of the situation and do what is best for
> >their business.
> >
> >       Although there are methods to clear the snow and defrost the ground
> >enough for burial, I would imagine this is very time-consuming and costly,
> >which is perhaps why the Association would prefer to avoid winter burials.
> >Whatever reason, I am surprised, too, that a group of people would assume to
> >force a private business to conform to their wishes if it is obvious that
> >others are willing to abide by the regulations.
> >
> >       If, as you infer, the Association is part of a "public" entity, then
> >shouldn't the situation be discussed by the trustees, with the public's
> >input, and decided that way?  If it is a cost constraint, then an option of
> >winter burial at an additional cost might be considered.
> >
> >       I can certainly understand the emotional distress this may cause for
> >some people, but there really needs to be an upfront agreement made when a
> >lot is purchased.  Although most funeral directors and cemetery sextons would
> >prefer pre-need purchase, many are still resistant to that practice also.
> >
> >       Perhaps a representative from the group (before hiring a lawyer) can
> >meet with the Association and discuss the concerns in order to reach a
> >mutually satisfactory solution.  If not find a compromise, at least hear a
> >reasonable explanation of the current decisions.
> >
> >       I would be very interested to hear how this progresses and is
> >ultimately resolved.  Best of luck to you.
> >
> >Katie Karrick
> >Tomb With A View (A Monumental Experience)
> >http://members.aol.com/TombView/twav.html
> >
> >> Folks:
> >>
> >> There is a situation developing here on the otherwise-placid isle of
> >> Newfoundland which I am trying to better understand, and was hoping that
> >> someone on the list may have suggestions.  It relates to winter burials.
> >> In most communities, bodies are buried year-round (the cremation rate here
> >> is maybe 6-7%).  Given that we have a great deal of snow, this means some
> >> significant snow-clearing and ground-thawing for cemeteries.  However,
> >> several communities also have vaults, in which they will keep the bodies of
> >> those who die between about the 1st of November and the 1st of April.
> >> Then, early in April, these bodies are buried (often on the same day, and
> >> generally without any ritual).  The body is consecrated before entering the
> >> b
> in
> >> the spring.
> >
> >>
> >
> >> The problem is that many people do not like the winter vault and spring
> >> burial practice.  In several communities, large numbers of people have
> >> organized and signed petitions to try and get their local cemetery to give
> >> people the option of having winter burials.  In one community of 8-10,000,
> >> they already have about 4,000 signatures on the petition.  The cemeteries
> >> are run by a Cemetery Association, generally composed of clergy and funeral
> >> directors and sometimes a few other community notaries.  These Cemetery
> >> Associations have resisted the move to a winter burial option, and refuse
> >> to even discuss why they oppose it.
> >>
> >> I am wondering if you know of other situations where communities were able
> >> to alter the practices of their local cemeteries, especially if they did so
> >> through legal means.  If the practices were altered, what were the legal
> >> grounds which supported the change?  One group here in Newfoundland is
> >> considering hiring a lawyer and taking the Cemetery to court, but they are
> >> not sure what grounds to use b
> >> emotional suffering of the bereaved who undergo two burials for the
> >> deceased?) or democratic rights (if the majority of a town votes for winter
> >> burials, should not a public body like a Cemetery Association be bound by
> >> that decision?).
> >
> >>
> >
> >> If you have any suggestions (or relevant anecdotes), please e-mail me at <A
> HREF="mailto:[log in to unmask]">
> >> [log in to unmask]</A>
> >> Any and all assistance is much appreciated.
> >>
> >> Ivan Emke
> >> Associate Professor
> >> Social/Cultural Studies
> >> Sir Wilfred Grenfell College
> >> Memorial University of Newfoundland
> >> Corner Brook, NL
> >> A2H 6P9  Canada
> >>
> >> 709-637-6200, ext. 6322
> >> Fax: 709-639-8125
> >> <A HREF="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]</A>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
>
> "Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift." - Albert Einstein
>
> %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
> Stephen D. Krau, Ph.D., RN
> Professor and Coordinator, Continuing Education
> School of Nursing, Box 81
> Middle Tennessee State University
> Murfreesboro, TN 37132
> ***********************************
> Phone: (615) 898-5417
> Fax:   (615) 898-5441
> Cell:  (615) 470-3985
> %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

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