Perpetual care. What does that include? What does it not cover?
On Tuesday, I posted Tombstone Tuesday Adventures, which pertains to my finding family gravestones which are buried underneath large bushes. No one should have to get on their hands and knees to try to find a grave under a bush.
What if I was an older person and not able to get down there? What if I got hurt while crawling under the bush or getting back up? Who is really responsible to take care of these bushes.
After I got the pictures on needed of these few graves under the bushes, I was advised by the gentleman who had helped me to go into the office and request a work order to have the bushes pruned back. I did this, muddy knees and all. Unfortunately, I was greeted by a new person when I went back into the office (not the nice lady who had helped me when I first went in).
This representative of the cemetery asked me, “who do the bushes belong to?”
My reply, short and simple, “I have no clue.”
He wrote the information down and that was it. I thanked him and was on my merry way to the next cemetery. When I arrived at the next cemetery, I spoke with a lady in the office about perpetual care and the bushes. She advised me that if the family planted the bushes, they are responsible for pruning them and that if the cemetery prunes them, they can send a bill to the family for doing so.
Let me just say that I should have taken a picture of these bushes that grew into 1 large bush. They are nicely pruned. There is nothing about this bush that states that they are not being taken care of. Who, pray tell, is taking care of the said bush? Obviously, it is not the family. Otherwise, one would assume they would make sure that their family members stones would be viewable. Am I wrong in this thinking?
“Under provisions of the Cemetery Care Act, the
owner is liable for the care of lots, graves, niches,
mausoleums, memorials, and markers.” From http://www.state.il.us/hpa/Cemetery/Images/Stones%20and%20Statutes.pdf
I have spent time reading through many web sites and I have not come across anything that states it will not cover bushes. They all state that the stones will be cared for. It is obvious that these stones have not been taken care of. If they had, I would not have had to crawl under said bush. Unless the cemetery takes pictures of the grave site before burial, how can they prove that a family planted the bushes.
My words of advice are this, when we bury our loved ones, please do not plant any type of shrubbery. Your descendants will be thankful.
I ask all of you, have you come across this type of situation? Is there another avenue I should try to rectify this situation?
On Monday, I set out to visit two cemeteries, knowing that it will be the last visit for the season. My goal for the day, visit Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago to find Emma Felske’s gravesite and St. Luke’s Cemetery in Chicago to find Augusta Freiburger’s gravesite. Both of these ladies were my grandmothers aunts (I have just recently found their obituaries) making them my great-great aunt.
The reason for the outing today is that the weather her in Chicago is supposed to get into the 20’s by end of the week. We are expecting the worst winter on record this year, so looking for gravesites will definitely be out of the question. As I posted on Twitter when I was getting ready to leave, I gave the reason for going today as snow by end of week. By the time I was ready to pick up my coat, I looked outside and huge snowflakes were falling. So, like any midwesterner, I grabbed my mittens/gloves and set out (my boots were already in the car). Luckily, it was warm enough outside that the snow melted before it even hit the ground. The boots were not necessary, but the gloves definitely came in useful.
The first stop was Rosehill cemetery (it should have been the last). I have many relatives buried here and feel I knew the cemetery well enough that this would be an easy trip. I went to the office and asked for the grave location of Emma (and even checked to see if her brother Ted was buried here, he was not). I was then given a map of the cemetery and a map of the section. Off I went!
While I was driving through this large cemetery, I got a call and spoke with a friend from grammar school. The conversation is not so significant (right now, at least). When I finally made it to section 119 where Emma was buried, I parked and got of the car and started my search. Because of the recent weather most of the flat stones were covered in wet leaves and pine needles. I felt so bad because I had to use my foot to clean them off. I was taught better than that, and it really bothered me. Anyhow, I continued my conversation with my friend and she laughed as I complained that I could not find the stone I wanted. I looked over the map several times and even started over from the corner to try and start over. Finally, my friend said that I should get off the phone and I might find it. Ok, so we finished up and I continued my search for Emma.
After about a full hour of search (with and without the phone call) I still could not find the stone. I decided to walk to another section where there was a work truck. I spoke with the man and asked him for assistance. He was kind enough to get out of the truck and walk section 119 with me. Still no luck. Another work truck was in the area and he radio’d them to come and help us out.
One of them finally found a stone with the Felske name. Not the Felske I was looking for, but a Felske none the less. There was this large bush (it could totally take up the front seat of my SUV) and underneath the side of it was a stone for Edward Felske. In my heart, I knew I would not see Emma’s stone. I just knew it would be under that bush. The 3 guys working so hard to find the stone kept telling me that there is no stone there.
Finally, one of the guys on the smaller side got down and crawled under the center of the bush. Talk about great customer service! He finally calls out that yes, there is a stone there. But, it is completely covered in dirt. While another guy runs back to the other section to get a spade out of the truck to assist him.
Guess who the stone was for. Did you guess Emma Felske? If so you are correct and can probably understand that my heart is broken to not be able to see the stone. The third guy finally crawled under the bush and was using the spade to remove more of the dirt to completely verify who the stone was for. The other two gentlemen went back to work.
I crawled under the bush to take a picture, the best possible in this circumstance. Guy #3 told me to talk with the office about a work order to get the bushes pruned back. It was actually two bushes that had grown together and now look like 1 large bush.
Guess who will be visiting this grave again in the spring? Yeah, me. Hope the cemetery will take care of the bushes. *Thats a post for another day.
As a side not, I did make it to the second cemetery and found the graves in a matter of minutes. I unfortunately went home with dirty knees from spending so much time trying to get under the bush to find and document this grave.