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Thomas Lynch on Cemetary Scams

The following is an excerpt from one of my all-time favorite writers and funeral directors, Thomas Lynch. True, I know only one funeral director, so making him my all-time favorite may not be saying much, but I do know quite a few writers, if that helps the recommendation. Thomas is no-nonsense in his balancing words with our culture’s treatment of death and dying, and at the same time, his writing is a lot of serious fun. For example, his idea of combining golf courses with cemetaries to make better use of land space and encourage family visitation. This latest contribution offers humor, but delivers and even stronger message on the role of politics and greed in our simple desire to rest in peace.

In Michigan, Not Even the Dead Are Safe
By Op-Ed Contributor Thomas Lynch
Published: April 29, 2007

THE big cemetery with the name like a golf course out on the Interstate across from the mall was seized by a state conservator this winter. Seems someone took the money — $70 million in prepaid trust funds — and ran. It’s one of those theme park enterprises with lawn crypts and cheap statuary and an army of telemarketers calling up locals in the middle of dinner to sell us all our “commemorative estates.”

“You don’t want to be a burden to your children, do you?” So says the “memorial counselor” with the sales pitch and the flip chart and the forms to “sign here” on the bottom line — the bargain-in-the-briefcase peace of mind. Why not? I say, though never out loud. My children have all been burdens to me. Isn’t that what the best of life is — bearing our burdens honorably?

[Read the rest: NY Times Online.]

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