I believe in tombstones.

So few of us leave a lasting mark on this world that tombstones are the only way to announce that we were once here. And we customarily leave that task to others, and they often are crying.

If no one’s crying, you’ve royally screwed up.

Same goes for no tombstone.

Let’s look at my minuscule family’s tombstone history. Grandparents on both sides scored their stones. Mother’s side is in the podunk town of Sylvester, Georgia. Father’s folks are in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta.

There were tears on the maternal side. I know because I was there. On the paternal side, I don’t know because I wasn’t there. Let’s assume so, for the sake of kindness. My people are not given to tears — but anger comes easily to us.

Moving down a generation: Father died in 1991. He was cremated, and does not have a tombstone. But many cremated people get their stones. My child bride’s daddy was cremated, and he has a tombstone in Taretan, Mexico.

Cremation is not a tombstone deal-breaker. Lack of tears is.

Mother died in 2009, and she was cremated. She too has no tombstone. Mother and Father have vanished. Too few tears. Too much anger.

I will be cremated one day. I hope I score a tombstone. And tears.

19 thoughts on “Stones”

  1. You can count on a tear or two from me, amigo. Along with a nice bottle of tequila to share with ya whilst I sit beside you and reminisce about the good old days “como es estilo Mexicano!”

    Can’t promise many much. But this I will surely do for you.


  2. You could score a shrine insde an American-style funeraria. Behind glass with your urn and some of your favoritest small possessions!

    I don’t cry easily but I will feel really, really sad.


  3. My Dad has no stone. His ashes are in the same cardboard box we received from the crematorium. With its stick-on label, it looks as if UPS had just dropped it off this morning. But, he would have liked that. Just the kind of guy he was. (I feel a post coming on.)

    I suspect I will be shuffling off of the planet before you. Otherwise, a tear and a joke would be my farewell to you. My people tend to laugh more than they cry.


    1. Steve: The fact your father has been left in a cardboard box is telling, I think. I’ll leave it at that. As for your shuffling off before me, who knows? I’m in better shape than you, but I’ve had a heart issue all my life. My father died of a heart attack when he was just a bit over seven years older than I am now.


  4. The picture has me wondering. I would have expected a tombstone with name and dates. A play on words?
    I hope this subject is not brought up to prepare us for some terminal illness you about to announce!


    1. Patzman: A photo of a tombstone would have been the obvious thing, but I thought of the one-word headline first, Stones, so I just carried through with that. Sometimes it’s best to take the road less traveled, as they say.

      And no, I have no terminal illness, at least not that I know of. Knock on wood.

      Interestingly, the comments here reflect a misunderstanding of the real theme of this post. It is not about me, or at least that was not my intention.


  5. Hello, Felipe,

    As you know a lasting legacy is the life you lead now, and the stone has no real value to those who have passed.

    Interestingly, a photo of my father and stepmothers tombstone and place of burial came up quickly here:

    You don’t need all of the information, I only put his name and where they lived and it popped up.

    Undoubtedly, there will be tears when you depart from your blog fans, your nephew and child bride, at the very least!!!

    Consider having your very own personalized tombstone made before you die, and those who are mourning can add the date and you will be immortalized in style, for certain!

    All the best,

    Arizona Deb


    1. Hi, Deb. Thanks for the website link. Interesting. No end to the things the internet provides these days. As for doing my own stone in advance, I very much hope that I get no advance warning of my Promotion to Glory at all. I want a lightning bolt to strike me, or something similar.


  6. Tombstones indeed make a nice statement. I have often wandered around historical graveyards studying deep prose. Sadly, most of the people I have know, the ones who would have had something keen to post on the rock for me have either already earned theirs, or will not be around for the crafting of …

    Most of my mentors and friends, business associates and enemies have been older, leading me eulogize their moments. We could, I guess, write our own epitaphs or such and make specific arrangements to have them honored, but that sounds like way too much trouble.


  7. James Garner gave what I think was the best answer ever when he was asked, How would you liked to be remembered? He replied, “With a smile.”


    1. Fine response, Francisco. Garner has always given me the impression of being a great guy in person, and I’ve never read otherwise. I couldn’t recall if he is still kicking, so I looked him up, and he is. He will be 85 in April.


  8. I was helping my father-in-law with some electrical work last year, a store run was needed; on the way back, he had me drop by his future resting place. Stone and all, ready and waiting. The man is a jewel.


    1. Norm: A jewel indeed. His thoughtfulness will reduce the work for you and your wife when the time comes.

      My first father-in-law was a raving alcoholic who decided on sobriety late in life. Kudos to him. My second father-in-law was a schizophrenic, often institutionalized, who finally got a bit of a grip with lithium. My third father-in-law, whom I never met because he died before I came on the Latino scene, was a doctor and stable family man. Perhaps he would have been a jewel in my eyes, but he didn’t like Gringos, I’m told.


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