Grave Caretakers: Why It Makes Sense to Hire Them

7:57 PM

Several days before All Souls' Day, my father would pack us all in our family van to visit our departed loved ones at the cemetery. This was an annual obligation to fulfill. I remember as a child seeing my father talk to an old woman, giving her instructions for the flowers and candles we brought to be placed on our relatives' grave site on the actual date for All Souls' Day.

Our family's early visit to the cemetery was intentional to avoid the expected crowd drawn by this yearly tradition. Being the grave caretaker for our family, this woman was expected to keep the area clean and provide protection from possible vandals or thieves. This was possible because grave caretakers usually live around the area.

As time passed, this woman was replaced by a younger relative. Soon after, I took over my father's corresponding responsibility when he became terminally ill. The arrangement between us continued in this manner. From then up to now, I have learned to appreciate the sense of hiring a reliable grave caretaker.

Year-Round Care for the Grave Site

It is impossible for many of us to visit the final resting place of our dearly departed as often as we would like to. Having a grave caretaker provides regularity in cleaning the site and not only during All Souls' Day. Of course, it would be best to hire someone you can trust to do his/her duty without you discovering for yourself about actual negligence when you decide to make a surprise visit.

Special Care Under Extraordinary Times

This pandemic gives us a glimpse on what could happen if physical conditions prevent us from traveling. Grave sites are often neglected all year round. More so, if the annual visit still cannot be made. Hiring a grave caretaker can address the need to put the area in order while prayers for the dead can still be done wherever we are.

Updated Information for Unexpected Change in Cemetery Policies 

It is a no-brainer that cemetery management should contact lot owners of any major change in policies. Making contact however, is an all-together different reality especially in the Philippine setting where turnover to the next generation is almost always informal and cemetery management is rarely informed. The grave caretaker can help provide needed information.

My Say

There was a time my own family and I braved the sea of humanity trekking to cemeteries on All Souls' Day. I wanted them to understand that our ancestors deserve to get at least this annual visit from us. That said, I'm sure they'll understand the limitations we have now and know that they will always be in our hearts.

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