Accepting the End

Ed Horn's picture


It seems that many of our professional magazines have articles written by our members concerning their pre need planning and memorial wishes. Each author has planned their funeral service, memorialization, photos, and inscription and after internment functions meticulously.
To the lay public these authors may appear morbid, strange or true to their calling. Within the profession they epitomize what we emphasize to families. Pre need planning is the center piece for St. Michael’s Cemetery wherein nearly 80% of monthly sales are to individuals and families addressing future needs.
Years ago well before I was a member of our profession and when my parents were alive and healthy my father called to tell me that he purchased 68 graves. To the end of his days my laughter echoed in his ears. At the time it seemed such a ridiculous action with a quantity of graves that defied rationalization. That Friday evening I had my kids fill a basket with painted rocks. Having a rock placed in front of him he warily looked at me asking what was going on.
I told my father with 68 graves to choose from that Sunday we would have a picnic at the cemetery and wherever he placed his rock we would bury him. He left no question of what he thought I could do with the rock. I am not sure that I could physically satisfy his suggestion.
My brothers and I called it the Ponderosa. As newly minted land barons we walked with a sway that left little doubt of our endowment. The jokes we used at parties never failed to create merriment and sharp laughter.
Ten years after the great land acquisition my mother suddenly died. The wealth of tears ran as a river that seemed unable to end. When we interned her in the first of the 68 spaces Dad had purchased it was as if the land torn open ran through our hearts. For the first time standing in front of our mother’s grave we knew that Dad had given us our final resting place. For where Mom was we will assuredly follow.
Eight years ago when I joined St. Michael’s as a Counselor I would tell Clients the story of the gift my father had given us. I related how that one act cemented us to the place we all accepted as our final destination. We never felt anything but gratitude for the intelligence and leadership demonstrated by our father. In the end, as most times, Dad was a man who would provide foresight and planning for what his family needed!