Should fake flowers be banned from cemeteries?

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Should fake flowers be banned from cemeteries?

Post by GD on Thu 13 Jan 2011, 7:47 am

Behind the long ribbon of the cemetery wall all is quiet and damp and very grey. Rising from the ground at a hundred different angles, the headstones of Kensal Green, north-west London, are softened by lichen, moss and mildew. Beyond the older graves, this sombre scene is suddenly brightened by tropical splashes of colour: artificial yellow tulips, plastic poinsettia, fake lily of the valley, great sprays of plastic roses and other indeterminate artificial shrubs and flowers in vivid orange, purple and red.
The proliferation of plastic flowers bedecking ever more elaborate graveside memorials, featuring Pooh bears, T-shirts, flags, pictures and poems and windchimes and windmills, has sprung from a growing individualism, the mourning of Princess Diana, the spread of foreign traditions and even health and safety regulations that forbid glass and metal in graveyards. For many people these vibrant, personal displays are a vital expression of their relationship with the deceased. For others they are kitsch, shouty and intrusive.

This week a grieving family criticised strict rules forbidding artificial flowers in winter [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], near Gloucester, after silk flowers laid in memory of Rebecca Eales, who died in 1988 when she was three weeks old, were repeatedly removed from her grave. "What this vicar has done to me is made me feel that I have not wanted to visit my daughter's grave," Rebecca's mother, Elizabeth Mills, told a local newspaper. "When he took the basket of flowers weeks after her death and disposed of them, only leaving a note, the hurt was beyond belief."
The Rev Geoff Stickland said that unlike many churches he has always enforced rules against fake flowers and these rules fall within Diocesan guidelines. "The metaphor of flowers is the beauty that weathers and decays. That is why we always put real flowers in the churchyard where they are associated with funerals. Plastic ones don't decay, so the metaphor gets lost," he said. He has previously banned the playing of pop songs at funerals in his parish, a trend he also attributed to the death of Princess Diana.

Traditionalists may be discomforted by new responses to death but, in its own calm way, Kensal Green cemetery is a wonderful illustration of changing patterns of mourning. Its rows of tall, forbidding Victorian graves would please lovers of austerity and yet they are also testimony to competitive [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] in which wealthy families sought to out-do each other with the size of memorials Romantic-era busts and angels and broken pillars.
Modern graves are far more humble and more individualistic. In Kensal Green, they feature everything from a rain-soaked toy Eeyore left for a presumably grumpy grandad to framed pictures of dogs, snow globes, Chelsea T-shirts, caps and earmuffs.
One is adorned with a picture of a sunset, a poem for "mum" and a small half-drunk bottle of Glenfiddich. A memorial to a 21-year-old boy is dominated by a T-shirt hanging from a wooden cross with "playboy" on it; around his headstone is a lantern, a model flute-player on top of a wind chime, a poem and great splashes of colour from plastic floral arrangements.
Dr Kate Woodthorpe, a lecturer in sociology at the University of Bath, says such decorations are mourners "staking their claim" and emphasising that their loved one was important and an individual. She believes that disputes similar to the one in Quedgeley are commonplace and emphasise the need for cemetery managers to have clear, consistent rules.
"There are competing expectations about grief. For some people it's about moving on. For others it's about an ongoing relationship," she says. "There is a view of stages of grief that ends with 'letting go'. Some people don't do that. They never will let go, and that is OK."
While some may view the near- permanence of plastic flowers as a form of part-time mourning (or a consequence of the bereaved living far away from the cemetery of their loved ones) many of these plastic gardens are tended with great devotion. In Kensal Green, numerous graves have Christmas decorations and cards to the dead, painstakingly wrapped in clingfilm. As one inscription defiantly puts it: "To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die".
In the far corner of the cemetery, Eileen and Ray Buckley are arranging new plastic flowers around the grave of their daughter, Monica, a nurse who died 15 years ago, aged just 25. They visit "more or less" every day, and routinely beautify any neglected graves nearby with their leftover plastic flowers, which Eileen buys from Poundstretcher.
"Try putting natural flowers in the wintertime and see how long they last. There is nothing so ugly as dead flowers," says Eileen, pointing to a huge arrangement of real flowers laid last Friday; they are already composting into a soggy pulp.
"Let's hope this vicar gets sorted out," adds Ray. "You put what you can afford on the graves we are pensioners."
Mary Keane has freshened up the grave of her husband, Christopher, who died in 1998, with neatly symmetrical arrangements of realistic-looking plastic daisies. She also has two "candles", which are LED lights that will flicker away for three months. "For the winter, plastic flowers look beautiful," she says. "We put fresh flowers on birthdays and anniversaries but the rest of the time they are plastic. I think they look lovely."
"Silly vicar," finishes Eileen Buckley firmly. (from guardian)

Well what do you think?


......THE BOSS......

"Always be yourself because the people who mind don't matter, and the people who matter don't mind"

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
avatar
GD

Male
Number of posts : 10122
Location : Channel Islands
Job/hobbies : Website Forums...lol
Humor : Anything that makes me laugh
Registration date : 2008-03-06

http://www.vuedesisles.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Should fake flowers be banned from cemeteries?

Post by kat on Thu 13 Jan 2011, 9:42 am

That is fine as long as it it means they are regularly kept in good condition
At our own Candie cemetery there are a few graves there with plastic flowers on and it is eye catching and always looks nice cant see what the fuss is about everyone has different ideas .
As for the trend from Princess ,this has been going on for many many years before that,
We all need to grieve and all take it different .as long as the place is tidy what does it matter?
avatar
kat

Female
Number of posts : 1850
Location : in my garden
Job/hobbies : bbbbbbbbbbb
Registration date : 2008-03-11

Back to top Go down

Re: Should fake flowers be banned from cemeteries?

Post by kingcolemk on Thu 13 Jan 2011, 9:49 am

Personally I have a dislike of plastic flowers in any situation, but I would not presume to dictate to others on the subject.

kingcolemk

Male
Number of posts : 1040
Location : England
Registration date : 2008-12-18

Back to top Go down

Re: Should fake flowers be banned from cemeteries?

Post by steve177 on Thu 13 Jan 2011, 11:19 am

Cemeteries should be banned.

steve177

Male
Number of posts : 53
Location : Guernsey
Registration date : 2009-12-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Should fake flowers be banned from cemeteries?

Post by karma on Thu 13 Jan 2011, 3:09 pm

My personal feeling is that flowers are for the living ! So while you have friends and family still around take them flowers - don't wait until they can no longer appreciate them.........and no personally I would not take my friends or family plastic flowers! But each to his own and I get quite sick of being told what and what not to do by petty rule makers who should have better things to do with their time!!!!!! If we had wanted to be dictated to we would have surrendered in WWII (or sooner) .
avatar
karma

Female
Number of posts : 16109
Location : Guernsey/Australia
Job/hobbies : travelling
Humor : warped (or so my friends inform me)
Registration date : 2009-01-30

Back to top Go down

Re: Should fake flowers be banned from cemeteries?

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum