Copyright © Janice Tracy, Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Taking it to the Grave"

I know you have heard someone during your lifetime use the phrase above. Both literally and figuratively, the act of "taking it to your grave" has been accomplished by many over the course of time. I have read stories about how the deceased was buried with family photos, jewelry, and other items that were dear to them. In the recent past, I recall articles that discussed requests that were carried out for one individual to be buried in his Ferrari, and for other to be buried on his tractor. My own husband wants to be buried with his favorite golf club.

I really thought I had heard it all.

But it seems that I had not heard everything. Today, I read an article on MSNBC's website about something that is happening in our high-tech society that tops all other requests such as those above. It seems that a large number of folks who have
"lived" with a cellphone or a blackberry in their hands, are now opting to carry that same device with them into the afterlife. They are literally "taking it to the grave."

Funeral directors are now routinely receiving requests for cellphones to be left "
on" in the open casket, set with a "ring tone" that had special meaning for the deceased, sometimes a favorite tune. These requests allow friends and acquaintances to call the person after death and to honor them by playing the special tune or to leave a voicemail paying their last respects. These requests, more often than not, include leaving the cellphone or blackberry in the casket with the deceased when burial occurs.

According to funeral directors who were interviewed for the article, at least two problems with this practice have been identified. First, the phone should be turned off before the funeral service. This is not really any different from what we are now asked to do in the movie theatre, in church, or before a event such as a musical performance or a play. Apparently, not remembering to turn off the phone, resulted in persistent ringing, has disrupted quite a few funerals.

Secondly, if the deceased or the family of the deceased has requested cremation, for safety reasons, the cell phone or blackberry cannot be included in the process. It seems this is prohibited, since heat causes most cell phones or a blackberry to explode and to emit toxic substances. In most cremation situations, the intact device is included with the ashes of the deceased in the urn or box that is presented to family members after the cremation has occurred.

So now you see, "taking it to the grave" has yet another meaning.

What will be next?


  1. Janice, You've just added an entirely new meaning to "taking it to the grave." How interesting!


  2. Yes, that's certainly a new one on me! I think my husband would be horrified with this bit of news having worked for 30 years with GTE and then Verizon. Surely there's a problem with cell towers or something?

  3. i have just seen a story were a microchi can be placed on your tombstone and on the chip it has your family history and whatever stories you decide to share for furture grave/family hunters