Shayne on You: Take matters into your own hands

Dear Maggie,

I lost my Mom last year on her birthday May 2nd. She and most of her family are buried in South Plymouth Cemetery on Ashcraft Road. Since she has been there it has been mowed less than 10 times. All of them last year. Someone had told us that they were looking for volunteers this year because it isn’t in the budget. That is kinda messed up because they really haven’t taken really good care of it in recent memory. My brother, nieces and nephews and I tipped up about 15 stones that were tipped over and down over the bank. It is a shame that my 67 year old Father has to go over and mow. He usually mows 1/3 of the cemetery from where my mother is over, until he gets too irritated or tired. Maybe you, as a writer can put a bug in their ear. I will e-mail you some pictures that I took last Sunday in 2 separate e-mails to reinforce how badly it needs to be mowed. This cemetery is supposed to be perpetual care, as well. What is it, perpetual if we do it ourselves? Thanks for your time.

A Displeased Daughter

Dear Displeased,

I’m so sorry about your mom. I know how hard that is. I hope that running your note in the column gets you the results you’re hoping for. I never received the pictures, and I haven’t been to that cemetery myself in quite some time, so I can’t vouch for anything in that regard, but I don’t have any reason to doubt your word. So here’s hoping things change.

That said, this is an advice column, so advice is what you get here. If seeing the cemetery makes you unhappy, and seeing your dad struggling to mow it makes you unhappy, then maybe you could get involved in organizing some volunteers to pick up the slack until the association gets back on its feet. I’m not saying that’s fair, or that you should have to do that.

But I’m all about doing the thing that’s going to make you feel better right now, and right now it seems that seeing the place cleaned up would do that. You and your family can’t do it all, so maybe you could make a project out of this, get a lot of people involved, take turns with the mowing – or, take a different route and work out some fund raising efforts to help make up the difference in the budget.

We know our loved ones who’ve passed are on such a grand adventure now that they really don’t care what their headstones look like. We know they’re fine. But it makes us feel badly to see their resting places neglected. When things happen that are unfair – like paying for “perpetual care” and not getting it – that makes us feel badly too. But we do better if we can find a way not to let what other people do or don’t do, control how we feel. We have to be in charge of finding ways to feel good, regardless of what others do. I have a feeling that this letter is just the beginning of you finding ways to approach this issue, that make you feel better, even before anyone else changes what they’re doing. And from that place of feeling better, better and better things will happen, and before you know it, the problem will be solved. I really hope that’s the case for you. It always is for me.

I also have to add that a lot of towns are having a lot of trouble providing the services they used to because of the rising gas prices we’ve been seeing lately. It’s draining budgets all over the place. But together, we can all get through these tough times. If we can just keep finding things to feel good about, we’ll all be okay.

Thanks so much for your letter and for bringing this matter to public attention.

Best to you and your family. Tell your mom to say hi to mine for me.


Displeased Daughter is now entered in our drawing to win an autographed copy of my latest book. Send in a letter for the column, and you’ll be entered as well!

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