Wednesday, November 01, 2006

La Toussaint

It's All Saints' Day today. Nearly everything is closed, although I did manage to find an open café. Along the river there are flower merchants selling chrysanthemums and heather to people planning on visiting the cemetary. I'm not sure why it must be those flowers we put on gravesites - maybe they're the only ones that will last in November weather.

On a recent visit to Husband's sister's grave, I saw a strange notice on the tombstone nearby. It said that as the plot fees hadn't been renewed, the family had a certain amount of time to contact the administration before 'action' would be taken.

I asked Husband what kind of action could possibly be taken.

I shouldn't have asked.

Apparently, graveyard space is tight. It's small country, for years everyone was against cremation, there are graves dating back centuries, people keep dying, etc. Before, you could buy a plot forever. Now you lease one, for blocks of time, for minimal fees. 25 years, 40 years, 50 years... After which, you renew, or someone in the family does. If no one renews, despite efforts to contact said family by mail, phone, and the notice on the tombstone, eventually (like 2 years later), the grave is DUG UP, the tombstone is TAKEN AWAY, and the remains are DEPOSITED into a MASS GRAVE for those who have been forgotten.

I suppose I'm being melodramatic, as usual, but that just seems awful.

Friends and family, take note, please have my remains incinerated and throw the ashes into the Atlantic, so no 'action' will ever have to be taken and so I can always be in between my two homes.

9 comments:

beth said...

That sounds horrible. All of those loved ones. . .just disposed of - I know worse things have happened, but that just made me very sad.

christi said...

that's absurd.

Lorraine said...

Duly noted.

polona said...

these things don't happen only in france...

Nicole said...

Beth - Me too.

Christi - Absurd but true.

Lorraine - Thank you.

Polona - I'm sure you're right. I guess it's probably true in most countries where space is an issue.

charlie said...

A mass grave sounds like fun. Lots of other dead people to chat with and party with and, yes, even go spooky fishing with :o) Once you're past the children and (perhaps, but only perhaps) the grandchildren, who remembers the dead?

Samantha said...

I remember being really shocked when I first heard that too, but it's true - considering how old France is, if they just left the graves alone, the entire country would be one big cemetary!

zeb said...

Into the ocean, wow you become more like mom and me every day.

beth said...

I know that Charlie is right - but the "who remembers the dead" still made me sad.