Thursday, 11 September 2008

Section L Bloc 8 No. 435

During the time I was getting chemo last Fall, I thought I should hop in the car and go check out the cemeteries around here. I knew the route I would take. Start with the one on Lagimodiere, then hit the one on Fermor and save the St. Boniface one on Archibald for last.

So if you’re willing to come to the lands of the dead with me please buckle up; I wouldn’t want you to get hit by the proverbial bus.

Evangelical Disney Land

You want it, they’ve got it. Bible; Jesus; sheep; praying hands; and even Filipino gardens. I mentioned that I didn’t quite understand the Filipino gardens; as in, was there earth there brought in from the Philippines? No there was not. It is just for Filipino people and their spouses. Honestly I don’t get it, unless we are buying segregation to the maximum.

Talked to the cemetery office and although the lady was very nice and even offered me a ride in her golf cart to see all the many garden sections of this land, I had to refuse because I had seen enough to know that this would not be the land of the dead for me.

Prices for plots were all over the map considering what choice piece of real-estate you were interested in. For example, to be by trees, water, or the road were considered prime.

Since I am only interested in an upright headstone plot I will quote on this. Plot was $1395 (discount of 200 if you preordered monument – yes they made the monuments there) and would fit either one coffin and two urns or three urns. If you were interested in two coffins in a double depth plot of course it was more (I am not interested so did not ask).

Opening and closing fees are $695 for coffin and $340 for urn.

I was also told that there is a 30% fee included in the price of $1395 for perpetual care of the site. I was surprised I wasn’t frisked for any change I may have had on me at the time.


Now what can be said about a wasteland? It is empty.

No character, basically a field.

The man I dealt with was very soft spoken; he barely spoke above a whisper. I think it was because he did not want to wake anyone up from their naps in the garden. It seemed to be a hush-hush business. He did ask if I had family or friends there when I asked the prices of the plot, I told him no, but did that make a difference in the price? He told me no it didn’t. He asked me no more questions after that.

Prices of plots vary from $1500 to $2000, but if you want a foundation for a monument it is $2500. The man I spoke to told me that the $1500 was for the new gardens and $2000 for the older gardens. The most expensive garden was $2500 because it had the foundation poured. The garden could only fit one coffin and one urn or two urns.

Opening and closing fees were $645 for a coffin and $245 for an urn. At this point in our conversation I was also told that there is a four part process to the coffin. Okay, I’ll bite. Step one – buying coffin. Step two -- opening and closing fee $645. Step three – liner or vault for coffin required in this cemetery and it is $845 and up. Step four – bronze marker on site would start at $1900 and if you want a monument it would also start at $1900 (surprise they make the markers and monuments there too).

Familiar Land

I have been familiar with this graveyard forever. My grandfather (Camille Ste. Marie) who died before I was born is buried here. I moved into Windsor Park when I was nine years old and the cemetery is basically located at the end of the street I grew up on. My Nana (Renee Ste. Marie) is also buried here.

Of course I wish my parents (who are not dead) would be buried there as well, but they will be buried at the Evangelical Disney Land.

This cemetery has old headstones since the beginning of times in St. Boniface. I remember one in particular from when I was a child and it is a tall headstone with a guardian angel on it and there are about four small children from one family who died and are buried there from 1811 or so. I would have to find the headstone again to be exactly certain.

When I first went there I thought that the cemetery was full. Much to my delight (yes, delight) there were some new sections that had been opened. Many of the sections are reserved for the nuns and priests, but there were more that had recently been opened. There was Bloc 5 which is located by the house on Archibald and there was Bloc 8 in Section L which is located by a big cross.

Wahid and I had gone to look at it while he was on holidays and we decided that it was as good a place as any to end up in. (If I was having a contest and you guessed that Wahid really did not want to be there, you would win.)

I then took Angelique and Josephine and Jacquie to see it and we all really liked it. Josephine was running around on the grass and foundation having a merry old time.

Nadalene (the brat) went and looked at it herself and she also liked it. Nathan does not want to see it at this point.

The real-estate that I purchased was right by a row of trees with a small road behind them. I bought Section L Bloc 8 No. 435. There will be no one buried behind me.

What was kind of fun was that when I told some of my family I had bought it, I laughed because when I said it was a new section and no one had bought there yet, Nadalene proceeded to buy the lot on one side of me and Jacquie bought the lot on the other side of me. Angelique wants some of her ashes placed on it and Camille does too.

The cemetery office is located at the St. Boniface Basilica and the man I dealt with was exactly like I wanted him to be. I really appreciated the fact that he was not made up of cheese or smoke. I also found it refreshing that he did not treat death as though it were a taboo subject. I was more than thrilled that he called a plot a plot and not a garden. After all, I was there to buy a plot not a garden. He was just like the Catholic Church; sit, stand, genuflect, make the sign of the cross, reverent, low-key, exit without having to make eye contact or talk to anyone else.

The price of the plot with a foundation for a headstone was $995. The plot could hold one coffin and two urns or four urns (in one case one more urn for my buck and in the other case two).

The opening and closing fees are $375 for a coffin and $225 for an urn.

I repeated this journey yesterday, first with Jacquie (who drives slower than molasses) and then with my Dad.

Jacquie and my visit were non-eventful and took less than 30 minutes. My visit with my Dad on the other hand was wonderful and took almost two hours.

I have to say that this time around I thought something a little different about each land of the dead.

Evangelical Disney Land – beautiful veteran’s wall with my Dad’s name engraved (Henri Ste. Marie LAC). Dad was really happy to see it because he had not seen it before. It is a big granite wall and there is a Canadian Flag and some flowers. I loved it and while Dad sat in the car, I pointed out his name, kissed it with my fingers, and gave it a salute. It was fun. Of course I was saluting a man that I love and not really his service, more than anything I was saluting him as my father. Also this land was very well kept (don’t forget 30% of your fee for your plot covers that).

Wasteland - really next to no monuments, but lots of markers. This land too was really well kept and like Marcie and Travis said, it was peaceful. They also had a beautiful mausoleum there as well.

Familiar Land - I kidnapped Dad and showed him my site and he really liked it too. He loves this cemetery too. We went and saw where his parents are buried and Dad got out of the car and prayed. It was really touching.

I told Dad that we were more lively and having fun in the cemeteries than we were when we just sat and talked. We both laughed.

By the way, I guess it is never too late to increase your vocabulary. Have you ever heard the word Inhumation? I never did. If someone had tried to use it in our scrabble games I would have protested. Well, inhumation means to bury a dead body.

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.
Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow.
Let reality be reality.
Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.

~~ Lao-Tse ~~


JACQUIE said...

i love this blog. sounds like i missed the fun of the living in the cemetaries with renee and dad.
notice i annoy the hell out of renee with my driving. notice too that i get her from point a to point b like clockwork complaints from be but a term i have heard often with renee is
"driving with jacquie is either BRUTAL OR PAINFUL" pick your choice.....oh well i love you dearly renee .... but i will only put up with so much as you know ...oh yeah nadalene has always called this "SIB ABUSE" ..but you still can't get rid of me as you say i have bought the plot right next to you 434.

Shelly said...

I too love this cemetery and have aways felt comfort there.

Dad told me he had a wonderful day yesterday because of you.

angelique said...

i also really enjoyed your post mom. thanks (smoke and cheese...fantastic). love you.

I am... said...

No matter where you are, you will always be in my heart...that is where I keep my friends.
This was a great post...