Winter Funerals

Courtesy of Beverly & Pack / flickr

Courtesy of Beverly & Pack / flickr

Funerals are very personal ceremonies whether they are for a close relative, a friend, or yourself. I recently went to an important one myself. You’d think mobility access would be taken for granted in situations like this, even in winter.

Nope.

Despite the fact most New England funeral homes are made over Victorian homes that originally included several porches and stairs, access is not something that has been overlooked. I’ve always seen street level entrances or ramps suitable for electric wheel chairs or mobility scooters as needed.

Parking lots are generally clear of snow and well-marked.

I did find the interior to be a bit crowded, particularly with both a power wheelchair and a mobility scooter arriving at the same time. No one thought to ask if mobility devices would be present. Extra space in normal seating hadn’t been considered. It is a good thing we got there early.

The funeral went off without a hitch and was very nice. My Pastor would have been pleased.

The only major snafu was the internment, or graveside service.

About three quarters of those attending (about 40 people, roughly 30 vehicles) made the trip.

One thing to remember about cemeteries are the fact they have narrow pathways. Yup, they are flanked with snow right to the edge.

That means if you shared a handicap van with an extendable ramp you spend the time in the van well out of earshot. Never heard a word of the ceremony.

The walking alongside the string of cars was also quite treacherous.

Obviously the roads in cemeteries are being nibbled at by lots, big gravestones, even foliage.

I had really wanted to be there for the interment, this was the most important man in my life. We were a good 25 cars back from the gravesite and got a glimpse on the way out.

The problem, from my viewpoint is real estate. City space for gravesites was never allocated on factoring in continual city growth, natives returning for burial and family plots swelling for more and more generations. It’s difficult to make already crowded cemeteries retroactively handicap-accessible.

Even at 75, I had never given funerals and burials much thought, but I am convinced, I don’t want to be buried with my mobility scooter, in fact. I don’t want to be buried at all.

I think of the number of times I have visited my parents’ gravesites and it shows me the memorial is not the important thing, it is the last memories that don’t leave you.

My wife and I have already had “the talk”. I made it clear I won’t be a real estate mogul come burial time and expressed the wish I want to be cremated sans mobility scooter, and have my ashes find their way to the ocean.

Granted, I will have a funeral—but please allow room for my disabled friends.

This entry was posted in Guide, Mobility Scooters, Power Chairs and tagged , , , by Reg Hardy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Reg Hardy

Reg Hardy is a candid 73 year old Navy veteran who lives with Multiple Sclerosis. Years of using a wheelchair gives him a unique insight into the challenges faced by those with mobility issues. He lends his distinctive voice to two websites that share his passions– scale modeling and helping others meet their mobility challenges. Reg is now writing exclusive content for AMS.

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