Monday, September 18, 2006

Mourning: 101

I need something explained to me. Maybe I'm missing the point, maybe I'm just a cold-hearted bastard, but occasionally while driving on the highways and parkways of Long Island I'll come across a makeshift memorial on the side of the road, flowers and signs and whatnot, honoring someone who presumably lost their life in an accident at that very site; and I have to tell you... I don't get it. Is it just a Long Island thing, or do people across the country feel the need to make public highways they're own little shrine to the deceased? Honestly, I'm really not that calloused, and no, I've never lost anyone in a horrible car accident so I have no right telling people how to mourn, but I just don't see the point. To me, it just seems, I don't know, trashy, like people can't be bothered with actually making a trip to the cemetary. With the obvious exception of tragedies like 9/11 we don't do that for anything else; my grandmother passed away in an assisted living home, I don't go to the room where she stayed and leave flowers every year, I go to her grave, that's what it's for: to honor and remember loved ones. Why do people feel the need to show everyone on their way to work that someone died at exit marker 3515 on the L.I.E.? One may argue that we need little reminders like this in our lives to remember our own loved ones and even our own mortality, and that may be fine for others, but I'll be just fine without the sidewalk shrine.
So having said all that, I'm officially going on the record to all my friends and family: If God-forbid I perish in a car accident on the side of the road, do NOT waste your time and money decorating the site with flowers and hand-written notes and signs; if you do I will haunt you for the rest of your life.
You've been warned.


Toni said...

To answer your first question, it isn't just here. I can now say I've seen similar displays all across the country.

As to why, I don't know. they don't offend me, but I wouldn't ever do something like that myself. Maybe its more of a warning to people, wanting to remind others that we aren't immortal, or that a particular intersection is dangerous.

In the end, it comes down to something that helps them get through the pain. It might not be how I would do it, but if it helps someone else, then I say go for it. They are easy enough for me to ignore, especially if they help ease someone's pain.

But that's just my two cents, as Steve would say. To each his own I suppose. Grief does funny things to people sometimes, at least that's a harmless enough outlet.

Michelle Lee said...

FINE! Be that way why don't you!!!!

I won't bother with the life-sized, true to life Blue Man Group flowers I ordered then.


Paul G. said...

(((FINE! Be that way why don't you!!!!

I won't bother with the life-sized, true to life Blue Man Group flowers I ordered then.)))

Oh, you can send them, just send them to the wake and/or cemetary where my body actually IS...

Unless they never find it, in which case look for me in about 20 years where I'll be hanging out with Mick Jagger and Rene Russo*.

* Don't bother laughing at that joke unless you've actually seen the movie "Freejack".