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The Family Plot

Posted by Elisa Taub
The Family Plot

My husband calls me morbid, but I think of it more as just being prepared. I'm talking about the recent trip my father and I took to buy cemetery plots. Yes I know, I've heard all the comments. "You're too young to be thinking like this." "You'll bring bad luck to your family." And my favorite... "Eeew!"

Well, believe it or not there are several reasons I embarked on this adventure and believe me it was an adventure. In fact in a strange way, it was kind of fun.

First of all, morbid as it sounds, you never know when your time is about to be up. As time whizzes by, I'll simply keep putting off this task until I do bite the dust, and I imagine at that time my loved ones won't be in the mood to do the land shopping.

Second, it's actually a bargain if you buy a plot when you are young. Prices will continue to rise and who knows what your financial future will look like. And you know me... I can't pass up a good buy.

But finally, the main reason I chose to buy my plot now had to do with the classic tenet of real estate -- Location. Location. Location. I knew I wanted to be buried where my parents and grandparents would be and I wanted a good spot overlooking the valley.

Finding the exact spot was not as easy as it sounds. Ours is a rather large cemetery so we had to scout out a general location before finding out what specifically was available. After visiting various family members, my father and I set out to find our final resting spots, talking about how nice it would be to be together, and weighing the many options.

First there was the issue of water. Our cemetery has several fountains throughout the grounds and in fact my uncle has a plot near one of them. We wanted to be near him but I had to put my foot down. Do they turn those fountains off at night? I mean who wants to listen to running water for all of eternity? Not me. Any plot near a water feature was ruled out.

I really wanted us to be in an area that was semi-flat so that when we had our funerals it would be easy for our friends and family to stand. Crazy? I think not. My father has a lot of friends, family and is very involved in the community, so I figure his funeral will be rather large and being the hostess that I am, I want everyone to be comfortable and "have a good time."

My idea was vetoed however, as my father found a spot on a hill overlooking the city where we both grew up. It really is quite a view if I do say so myself. It was, however, close to a memorial statue complete with eternal flame, which we found out is quite a popular spot for ceremonies. Who wants a bunch of strangers trampling over you a couple of times a year? We moved 10 plots to the left.

Trees were also something to consider. We were in the newer section of the cemetery and they had planted a few spindly trees. We tried to imagine how tall they would grow and in what direction, being we were on a hill. I wanted to give our visitors a shady spot to hang out on those hot California days.

Finally we found our perfect spot. But this wasn't the end of our journey. You see, although we were the only two who wanted to go look for a plot, the only two who were laughed at for our forward thinking, and the only two who were morbid enough, we still had to get site approval from my mother and my husband. So unfair!

So we schlepped them out to the cemetery and listened to their two cents. My mother agreed about the water feature issue. My parents have had several floods in their house and basically she decided she'd like a little peace in the after life. So that was settled.

My husband suggested a flatter piece of land, but honestly no one was going to argue this point with my father. After all it was a gorgeous view and we all agreed that since our time to go hopefully wouldn't be for a while, we might as well give in to the first come first served notion.

We signed the paperwork, paid our fees and now are all set for the future. It really is a comforting feeling knowing I've got all my ducks in a row. My husband finds it a bit more unsettling. Recently, he had a business meeting near the cemetery, and during his pitch he glanced toward the window and realized he could see his final resting place. Let's just say it wasn't exactly the deal he was hoping to close...

Elisa Taub is the editor and founder of momready.com. She lives in Los Angeles, with her husband, two children and a dog.