It’s pretty simple, really. Respect for those who have passed before us looks a lot like this:
As you have already guessed, this isn’t a picture of Restlawn. This is Graceland Cemetery in Mitchell in a photo we took last week. This place is just as lovely and pristine as we remembered it from prior visits. Every single gravesite that we saw looked tended, and the whole landscape showed the respect that the city of Mitchell is able to demonstrate for their loved ones. We felt good knowing that our family members who are buried there are resting in a place that honors them.
Respect also looks like this:
Many of you will recognize Riverside Cemetery in the photo above. As we walked around a week ago, we spotted a few places that needed a little bit of attention, mostly an occasional spring weed that had gotten the jump on the groundskeepers. Overall, though, Riverside displays the care and attention that has been paid to this place across the years. Like many of you, we have quite a few of our deceased family members across multiple generations there, and we are grateful for the dignity that they have been shown.
But then there’s this:
Yes, this is a recent photo from Restlawn. We wish we could say that this was the only gravesite that was covered with weeds instead of grass, but, sadly, that wasn’t the case at all.
And there’s this:
The exterior of the mausoleum is quite literally falling apart in spots. The exteriors of the other buildings are depressing, too.
Back to the weeds:
Years back, this used to be a flower bed. The other spots that used to be landscaped match this one.
As mentioned in the post from a few days ago, we had driven to Restlawn anticipating signs of hope. We did find a few upbeat notes; the woman now working part time in the office really seems to care, and the inside of the mausoleum looked quite a bit better than the photos that had been posted by others in recent months.
But, in general, Restlawn’s fake deer still are unintentional mascots of this place. Here’s a close-up of one of them:
Quite honestly, you don’t know whether to laugh or cry when looking at those things, right?
As we drove away from Restlawn, we thought about the memorial service we had just concluded for three of our family members. The gathering of family for this memorial was very special to us, but, after visiting Restlawn, we knew that we couldn’t inter the cremains of any of them there as yet. We thought, too, about our family members and neighbors who are already buried there, and about how much we wish that their final resting place was as respectful as Graceland or Riverside Cemeteries.
As we headed down the highway toward the Sioux Falls airport for our flights home, we talked over the specific steps that need to happen if things are ever to be set right at Restlawn. Our very next post will be all about those steps, so please stay tuned.
In the meantime, if any of you could convince those in charge at Restlawn to haul those deer to the Huron Landfill, you would totally make our day. They can bring along the siblings of those deer, too.