Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Our Family Cemetery is Open for Business (Free of Charge)




It's true, after a year of phone calls, regulation research, conversations with coroners and funeral home directors, our attorney and several meetings with our county officials--The O'Shaughnessy-Parrish Family Cemetery is a reality.

In our opinion, this "zoning variance" granted by the county, is a cause for celebration. It means that Keith and I and those related to us by blood or marriage, can be buried naturally in one of the 18 approved plots.  No embalming, no metal boxes, no expensive vaults. Wood caskets optional. If that is their desire of course.

Anyone who chooses to spend on average of $7,000 to $10,0000 for a traditional visitation, funeral service and large cemetery burial with all the bells and whistles of velvet draped funeral homes, fancy caskets with silk pillows, and concrete vaults that do nothing to preserve our bodies no matter how much moola is invested, is welcome to follow that route, but they'll have to do it elsewhere.

For family members who would rather leave their money to loved ones or deserving agencies, instead of burying it in the ground, we can now legally offer them a less expensive alternative. Sorry, we can't accept deposits as there will be no charge for this end-of-the-line vacation resort, nor will we take reservations.

It's strictly first come first serve.

I myself have my eye on Plot Number 1 because it's the farthest from the road, but if someone beats me to it, I'll be mature enough to step aside.




All in all the process was only mildly painful, but would've been less time consuming if I'd run across even one informed state individual who could've walk me through it step by step.  Or at least pointed me in the right direction. I was often given inaccurate information or sent to the wrong offices for info gathering. Additionally this was the first Family Cemetery request our county board could even remember and they too were unschooled in the specific requirements. The state rules and regulations were disjointed, duplicative and scattered about the internet in the form of outdated applications, instructions, and phone numbers.  When I finally tracked down the right people in the right offices, those  representatives knew nothing of the county or federal requirements.

Some of the standards I had to familiarize myself with during this process included but were not limited to:

      The Cemetery Oversight Act of Illinois
      The Cemetery Care Act of Illinois
      The Cemetery Protection Act of Illinois
      Transportation and Disposition of Dead Human Bodies
      Burial of Dead Bodies Act
      Illinois Department of  Financial and Professional Regulation
      Illinois State Comptrollers Office

There were no specific county requirements thus the reason we had to request a variance permit and present our case at three separate county meetings.  The "variance" being we wanted to use land zoned for agriculture ( a small portion of our property which was 2500 square feet or approximately 1/17th of an acre) for a different use, i.e. a Family Cemetery.

The neighbor who protested at the first two county meetings insisting we would lower the property values, didn't bother to show up for the last meeting so perhaps she's gotten used to the idea. Anyways, it's all good and next time friend Jay comes to visit we're going to move the four foot tall Celtic Cross he gifted to us last year, down to the center of our cemetery. He's a bricklayer by trade so we'll have him build a short pedestal for the cross.



Now to find some antique wrought iron fencing for the perimeter. In the spring we plan to plant lilac bushes there as well. Maybe carve out some benches from the Oak trees we felled to make room for  the barn. A fountain of some sort. Maybe even a hot dog stand! Kidding...Or am I ?

So excited, I can hardly stand it!!

22 comments:

  1. Absolutely love this. A private family sanctuary for rememberance. And I thought a photo album for Christmas this year was exciting!

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  2. Donna, I love your blog posts! CONGRATULATIONS on your cemetery! I know it was a long process and I'm glad the hurdles are done! I'd keep my eye on number 1 too...can you call "shot gun" on the plot? ;)

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    1. It was a long process but well worth the effort. "Shot Gun" Now THAT's funny!

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  3. Congratulations. The people I knew in Illinois who wanted to be buried on their land perhaps did not fight hard enough and accepted the "no" too easily.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. In the beginning we were told "no" also, but I've learned to say "Show me the regulation that prohibits such." When they cannot I know it's time for me to get on the internet, make some calls and rock some boats.

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  4. I once asked at my village Mayor's office, how much it costs to be buried in the graveyard. They quoted me about $250 for the plot; the rest I suppose would be a bit more (hole digging etc). In the UK they reckon an average funeral costs about $7,000.

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    1. Sounds like they are right on target with the US with the average cemetery costing between $7 and $10,000. OK with me if an individual wants to spend their cash that way but what irks me is how little information exists about alternative methods. Cremation, on the other hand is quite cheap here, about $800 where they just mail back the cremains and you dispose of them as you like, as long on private property.

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  5. It sounds just wonderful to me.
    Hopefully, your officials have learned something through your process too - next time someone asks, maybe they can be more helpful.

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    1. I'm sure they're hoping no one asks for a little bit....but when they do, yes, the process should go much better.

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  6. I just got done telling my husband how excited I was for you even though we've never met. What a great day! I'm not trying to be morbid, but am intensely curious; what if any regulations do you have to follow when the time comes? Depth? Will an "official" have to verify anything?
    Yay for you!

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    1. Depth...here in Illinois the requirement is just 18 inches. We plan to bury at 4 feet. Officials...yes. Il law requires the involvement of a funeral home director in case we die off the property and have to be transported back here or if we die on a very hot day and need to be refrigerated a day or two (no embalming) while the survivors notify others, find a back hoe to dig the hole, plan my 70's classic rock mix tape etc... Also the coroner in our county must be notified so that death certificates can be generated. Details, detail.

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  7. While it's nice knowing that your final resting place is all set now, Donna, and you've selected your plot, I hope you're not in any big hurry to get there first. After all, who would update us on the Poor Farm?

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    1. No, no hurry at all, but I was a bit worried I would die before the cemetery was in place. No, I'm not ill, but one never knows, and I wanted to be buried here. So big relief on my part when it was all done.

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  8. Replies
    1. I know! And all you siblings will be getting info sheets at our next family gathering. Reserve your spots now. :)

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  9. Thanks for the update on concluding this issue. Any room for burying the hatchet in the family cemetery? ;)

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    1. That is hysterical. So many hatchets, so few plots.

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  10. This is great news. I remember when you first started trying to head in this direction - good on you for following through! I suspect no one gave you a straight step-by-step scoop on the process because you are probably the first one in their born days who had ever asked such a thing. Especially nice that trappings are optional. That's always were they get you.

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    1. "Trappings" are optional. Love that. Prayer cards only an additional $125. Silk pillows $85. State of the Art Woofers and Tweeters inside your casket ceiling to listen to Rolling Stones Muzak for all eternity...priceless.

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