No Soliciting at the Mausoleum

NoSolicitingIt was on my list to drive to the cemetery sometime this month to view the final engraved stones for Mom and Dad and pay my private respects.  Last week I felt I could delay it no longer, and put it on my ‘to do’ list for the week.

It should come as no surprise that my dad, the architect, chose to be buried in a mausoleum.  The designer in him wanted a magnificent architectural structure.   As far as Mom was concerned, well…she never much cared for the heat and the idea of luxurious eternal air conditioning was quite appealing.

I bravely ventured out last Sunday, and was surprised that there was not a human in site as my car crept around the winding and hilly roads.  I arrived at the swanky half-moon driveway and covered entrance with an unsettled feeling.  It’s not that I buy into the possibility of a Zombie Apocalypse, but there was something eerie about being the only live person right smack in the center of the huge burial grounds.   I was just way to alone for the outing and did not exit the car.  Instead, I quickly glanced at the door and told myself that the facility was closed, but not without noticing the “No Soliciting” sign.

“No Soliciting?”  I thought as I quickly exited the cemetery.  “Is there like an office in there where people come in and try to sell all kinds of paraphernalia for the grieving?  That is just wrong on every level.”

Somehow I couldn’t shake that sign through the week, and my internal dialogue continued.  “Well, if they are there for old Dad, it’s going to be a tough sell unless its Big Lots or Costco.”

“No Soliciting?  Well, you’d have to be a really good salesman to sell to that crowd.”

Finally, I stopped my stand-up comedy routine, and decided I’d just ask the grounds keeper upon my return.

Friday I ventured over again, calling ahead to confirm their hours.

When I made my entrance to the mausoleum I discovered that the sign that I had quickly glanced at and then obsessed over for a week actually said, “Please, no pets or smoking in the facility.”

Where oh where did I get the “No Soliciting” idea?  My dear friend Joe told me it was because on my first pass through I just didn’t want to go.

Sweet Jesus…grief blinds us.

The depth of my being must have known the gravity of the moment before me.  To see Mom and Dad’s names and dates chiseled in marble until the end of ages made me sit down in the luxurious air-conditioned chapel and sob.

A wise friend told me months ago that when you lose your parents you feel like an orphan, regardless of age.  Having helped coordinate three funerals in the last five-year, I thought I would be immune to the emotions that flooded me on Friday.

Just when I think I have it all wrapped up in the world of caregiving, life catches me off guard.  If you are planning to make the trek to graveside of a loved one for the first time, post funeral, take a friend with you.

And that, dear reader, is my unsolicited advice.

Key Notes:

  • This little vignette story is why Mom thought reading was an important life skill, and tried to get me to pay better attention.  Growing up I was banned from all Zombie Apocalypse television viewing.  However, I consider “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” to be really scary stuff, and I’m still pretty afraid of the flying monkeys in Wizard of Oz.
  • In spite of my emotional outburst, I had a wonderful and productive week at work.  Also, Put Up Your Umbrella (which is chapter after chapter of unsolicited advice) is moving right along.

On a Lighter Note:

  • I would thoroughly enjoy my readers scripting this portion of my blog.  Your hilarious comments are most welcome!

Category: Uncategorized


  1. I agree, I’ve been there when I am the only living person and it is a strange feeling. If it helps, it does get easier as time goes on to see your parent’s name and dates etched on a slab. However, it takes a few years for the feelings to ease, it’s initially waves of emotion for the first year or three. Or so, that is my experience.

    Now what never changes is the horror of realizing you just opened your door to some guy wanting to sell you a cleaning agent. Not just any $30 cleaning agent but the one that, once used, will keep you from ever needing to clean your mirrors again. (Why does it work that one time they use it?) How about the terror of the hordes of magazine salespeople dropped into your neighborhood for the sales apocalypse. Oh, and this year, after the hail-storm, we had every roofing company from coast to coast ringing our doorbell. Just recently, after one too many meals being interrupted, Ed and I decided that we need a sign for our door. It’s on our shopping list, now I know it doesn’t necessarily have to be a no soliciting sign, any sign will do!

  2. Glad to hear that the book is coming along! Make sure you add my name in the acknowledgements as your “thorn in the side!”

    Much love,



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Article by: Valerie Bourdain

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