04 December 2013

Coffee cafes in cemeteries -- popular in Europe! Might we see the same in the US?

source: Savannah Memorial Park, http://thesavannahapioneercemetery.blogspot.com/ 

Paula's Genealogical Eclectica (Paula Stewart-Warren) blog recently had a post Cafes in cemeteries: will the idea come to the U.S.? which is based on an ABC News Story that she saw (read her article and access the original story).  Earlier this week there was a related article, Berlin Operators Take Lively New Approach to Cemetery Cafes.

As soon as I saw this, I was reminded that my husband’s mom would tell us stories of picnicking in the cemetery with her mom, dad, siblings, aunt and cousin near where family members were buried.  It was a chance to come together and spend some time with the memories of the dearly departed where they are memorialized.

Google Search on Cemetery Rules

With how strict many cemeteries have become in terms of flower arrangements (whether you can place any or not), monuments (whether you can have or not) and many other rules, cemeteries have often become a place where our ancestors are buried and yet are not necessarily hospitable places to visit.  And, it’s become more challenging to personally honor their burial plots.  Fortunately, my mother’s family are all buried in a cemetery where family members can still plant whatever they would like (within reason), clear out the weeds, keep the stone clean and perform other rituals as a form of remembrance for our family members who are no longer with us.

Think about when the children are young – you want to bring them to the cemetery where their ancestors are buried and yet they want to run around while you want to more solemnly remember these individuals.  You often end up rushing through the cemetery and/or someone is designated to find the nearest playground.  If there was a cafe in the cemetery, you could ALL peacefully enjoy some refreshment and then hopefully be able to more leisurely remember those buried there.

Or, your ancestors are buried in a very attractive cemetery where you would like to spend some time except your options are limited to walking the cemetery or standing “over” the tombstones of interest.  How many cemeteries include even benches?  Even department stores and malls now provide more places for sitting (and often even kid play areas) so that those not as engaged in shopping can rest their feet, enjoy a beverage, check the internet on their smart phone and otherwise keep themselves occupied while the shoppers can keep doing just that.  Wouldn’t it be nice if more cemeteries became just a bit more welcoming to visitors and actually encouraged you to stay for awhile?

What do you think? Would you find a cemetery cafe tasteful or tasteless?

Is there a cemetery near you or where family is buried which provides a cafe or some other amenities to not only encourage visiting and to make it visiting maybe less stressful for those who are intimidated by visiting a cemetery?

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