If you often visit cemeteries you may notice things that have not been taken care of. Most cemeteries have limited funds and that means limited or even no staff at all to take care of the small things. Many cemeteries have no staff only volunteers to take care of them, and often times the smaller ones are lucky to even get the grass mowed at times.
Each and every cemetery can use the help of community members. We all need to take pride in all our county cemeteries. They represent our towns histories, families, and stories. They can also be beautiful places that communities can take pride in.
I have had many people tell me that they don’t touch anything in the cemetery. While I agree you should never remove anything from the cemetery unless it’s trash or debris from a clean up, there are many small things you can do in the cemetery to help the caretakers.
Most management or caretakers will be happy to have you volunteer. If there is a cemetery that you can go back to often and help out you should contact the manager or caretaker to tell them what kinds of things you feel like you can do for them, or ask them if there are any things that they would like extra help in. You may be pleasantly surprised at the welcome you receive.
Below are some pictures of things you can do in any cemetery when you are visiting. When you walk in a cemetery you may see flowers out of place or flags down. Don’t just walk by. Please take the time to give a helping hand by putting things back in place. Consider bringing along a small empty bag to pick up litter with you as you stroll the grounds. Every little bit helps. You can make a difference!
Often flowers will fall off the stones and be laying on the ground.
Be kind and pick them up, put them back in place.
You might see a bronze vase that has fallen over.
Please just set it back up, they twist into place.
Some people use plastic vases that stick in the ground.
Take the time to stick it back in the ground.
The flowers on this stand had fallen over. Often you see these flowers laying on a new grave.
This one I know had been standing because it was not laying on the grave, it had fallen over to the side.
Flags easily fall over by the wind.
You want to stick them back in the ground so they don’t blow away.
Love ones like to leave items at grave sites however sometimes they may have trouble from the weather before they get back to take care of it.
Never remove anything from a grave site or change it in anyway, but if you see something you can fix like this.
It’s very easy for the headstones to be covered with grass clippings.
It’s easy to carry a small hand broom with you and brush them off.
I saw this little dirt mess here on the ground and he was dirty.
I brushed him off with my hand broom and used a garden tool to put the dirt back in place.
This small stone was moved over, more then likely by a lawn mower.
It was an easy job to clean off the foundation and move the stone back to it’s spot.
Flat markers are often covered with grass and dirt.
You can bring along some gardening tools, but really you only need gloves. Now anytime I visit a cemetery i keep one glove in my pocket.
It takes less then 5 min to clean the grass and dirt away.
Many flat markers can get covered over to never be seen again.
When you take time to clean them off you are saving a grave!
Often older stones fall over and then are covered by dirt and grass.
This day I had no gloves or tools to use, so I used my shoe. This will keep it from being covered over and I will be back to clean it off more.
This stone was laying down on the ground but had a hole it just came out of it. This can happen with a bump from the lawn mower, I just set it back up.
You may see many stones like this one just moved over. You don’t want this kind of stone to fall on a child.
Most of the time they are easy to move over into place. It just takes a minute of your time and will save the stone from falling over.
DO NOT TOUCH one where the base is not even. Because of the base this one can easily fall if you touch it.
It’s a lot easier to fix them now then to let them fall over.
These stones can be very heavy but slide easily.
Saftey is first, don’t move one if it’s to hard for you.
If you have someone with you ask them to help.
Don’t be afraid to touch a stone.
You may be the only person who will walk by and fix this.
Do what you think is best.
It’s an act of kindness.
If you wish to learn more about the care and repair of stones, search for a workshop in your area and check out our list “Workshops and Seminars”.