Perpetual Care

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.1

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?




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  1. Keep us updated on the situation. Hopefully they will take care of them for you (and not bill you!) We’ve not had this situation, but we did have to fight the cemetery when the grass on my grandmother’s grave wouldn’t grow for a year. It was battle after battle to have them put down more seed. We weren’t allowed to yet they were dragging their feet. it was extremely upsetting to my mother to see a dirt patch outlining the grave. Thankfully it is better now. We didn’t have the same problem with them when we buried my grandfather or uncle. I think that they knew we’d complain if the grass didn’t grow!

    1. I would also complain about the no grass. The look of a “fresh” grave is too much for me. My Mom and brother had we watch way too many horror movies and I just get to scared (I also will not go into the mausoleum). I will definitely keep you updated, and the bill will never come to me, they did not ask for my personal information. Just who I was to the decedent.

  2. Yes, something like this happened to me. My parents are buried in Michigan and I don’t get to the cemetery very often ~ maybe every 6 or 7 years. About 15 years ago I had a hard time finding their graves, yet I knew they were very close by. It took me awhile but I did find them. It seems that whoever owned the plot next to my dad had taken it upon themselves several years earlier to plant a cone shaped arborvitae tree between their grave and ours which had grown to be about 5 feet tall, and maybe 3 feet wide, and the base of the tree was encroaching considerably onto my dad’s grave. To say I was upset was putting it mildly! Of course the office was closed and there was no one to report it to. I called the cemetery when I got back to Illinois the following Monday and also let my brother know about it as he lives in the town where my parents were buried. Between the two of us we made a big enough stink that the cemetery did have it removed. My brother checked a few weeks later and so did I on my next visit home. Unnerving, but a happy ending.

    1. Wow Pat, how terrible. I am so glad that they took care of the issue. I will keep at it and hope they take care of it. I do believe I have found a living descendant of the family, hopefully he will reply. If so, I will pass the information on to him as well.

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