Preserving Memories: a Guide to Cemetery Care

When a loved one passes, there's little that can provide comfort—but one of few things that may help is visiting their resting place. Whether the stone commemorating their life is a simple marker or a grandiose one, you can feel at peace spending a little time there. However, because these markers form part of a natural environment, they do require some maintenance to keep them in good condition. The same can be said of older monuments for ancestors you never had the pleasure to meet.

So what can be done for the cemetery where your loved one rests?

Cleaning the Stone

Over time, the natural elements will begin to have an impact on the stone—moss or leaves may grow on it, for example. For some, this is a beautiful process and part of allowing their loved one to come to rest, but others may prefer to keep the stone free of any natural decoration. Both are fine; you should do what feels right for you and your loved one. Just take care not to clean the stone with harsh chemicals which may corrode or damage it.

Mowing Grass

One very simple task is to mow or clip the grass around the site of the stone. This prevents it from becoming overgrown, keeps the writing on the stone nice and unobstructed and generally ensures that the place looks neat and tidy. You may also wish to tend for the grass in other ways—pulling weeds, filling in patches of missing grass and ensuring the grass is well-fed and verdant.

Stone Repairs

As markers age, they may start to erode or become chipped. This is especially true of much older monuments, such as those of your ancestors; some stones can wear down enough to break into pieces entirely. This is not a repair that you should attempt; while instructions can be found online, the materials for both the stone and the repair will vary wildly and require expert eyes to select the right ones to ensure that the stone is not further damaged or spoiled. Contact a cemetery restoration specialist, who will be able to use their understanding of the stone material used to find the right adhesive and to ensure that the stone looks natural and untampered-with after the project is complete.

Taking a proactive approach towards caring for your loved one's resting place is a healthy way to continue to honour and love them. It can be healing and comforting. Just be sure to take care of both the marker and yourself by deferring to professionals where necessary.