I’ve never liked cemeteries; I don’t think most people do. It’s the fear of our own mortality that puts us off, I believe. It’s the knowledge that as we walk on that ground that there are those who used to be among us living and breathing as we are now, and that’s no longer happening. It’s the reality we all face; it’s scary.

The Front of Whitehaven

Many cemeteries have a sense of history though. When you go through most of them you’ll see a lot of headstones all over the place, and if you have the courage to go up to some of them, you’ll see famous names and historical names and even sometimes read of some of the accomplishments of people. It’s also strange sometimes when you look at the dates; some cemeteries have been around a long time.

Gazebo and small running brook area

It is with this in mind that I’m highlighting a special cemetery that’s not quite in central New York, but in the Rochester area. It’s where my dad and now my grandmother are, and it’s where my mother will be one day. It’s called White Haven Memorial Park, and it’s unique in that they don’t allow headstones. Instead, the grounds are full of plaques for the interred, and had all sorts of decorations of beauty and calm all over that actually do bring a lot of peace to those that visit because they have to or because they want to be with their loved ones.

Children's Area

My mother and I recently had to go back there to select a plaque for my grandmother. I have to admit that I don’t remember this full process when my dad passed, but I do remember asking it to be inscribed a certain way; it was 9 years ago, and as I’m sitting here writing this now I don’t remember the entire thing. I went a much different way for my grandmother; I asked that her plaque be inscribed with “Cool When Cool Wasn’t Known.”

My dad was interred in a special section for military veterans and their family members. The image above this paragraph is where he and my grandmother now reside. Strangely enough, they’ve reserved a spot for me if I decide I want to be with the rest of my family; since I live in the Syracuse area, I guess we’ll see what happens one of these days.

Anyway, this area where Dad is has flags where the United States has fought some kind of war, and the images above this paragraph are two stones with something on each side that gives tribute to soldiers from the World Wars, Korea and Vietnam; nothing updated for more recent wars I’m afraid.

Mausoleum and Ceremonies Building

The building highlighted in the image above this paragraph is where White Haven holds special ceremonies, and houses the mausoleums. It’s much larger than this picture can show, but I wanted to zoom in on this particular flower arrangement. For the first two years after someone had been interred, they offer quarterly ceremonies to all family members who want to get together with others that were interred around the same time to help you get over grief. My mother and I went to 3 of the 4 the first year and were fine after that. However, you can always decide to go after that if you wish; they just don’t notify you unless you put your name on a notification list.

On the opposite side of where Dad is are fire fighters, police, and others who lost their lives but were employed in services that helped others. These three stone pillars show who’s represented. I have to say I love that they do it like this. It was planned amazingly well.

This is the final image I’m sharing in this collection. They have these little intermediaries throughout the cemetery that also help divide the road so cars know which way to go. This is the one we pass when we’re on our way out. I have to admit that I’m not scared of this cemetery. When I was just there it actually offered me a brief bit of peace at a time when I had some turmoil going on about something else. It didn’t last long after I left, but while I was there I was at peace. I have to say there’s never a more wonderful feeling.
 

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