FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM AUGUST 30, 2018 • THE QUEENS COURIER 55
coping with death
Questions and answers about cemeteries
New York cemeteries that are incorporated
under New York State law are regulated
by the state. Th e state has no jurisdiction
over religious, municipal, private
(or family) and national cemeteries.
Even though the following information
applies only to regulated cemeteries,
these questions should be considered
when a consumer is negotiating for
a cemetery plot not subject to state regulations.
Before making any commitment,
ask whether or not the cemetery is regulated
by the state. Make a list of questions,
and carefully review any documents
or contracts before signing.
What documents should a consumer
expect to review?
When you purchase a lot or crypt, you
should receive a deed, contract or receipt
showing your lot ownership and a copy
of the cemetery’s rules and regulations.
You are entitled to attend and vote at the
cemetery’s lot owners meeting which is
Can I choose the fi nal disposition of
my remains such as burial, cremation
Yes. We recommend that you prepare
written instructions explaining your
wishes or make sure that your wishes are
observed by preplanning all the aspects
of your funeral.
Can a cemetery refuse burial?
Yes, but only under conditions involving
Can I be buried on private property?
Check with your local government
offi cials if you wish to be buried on private
property as there are no state rules
concerning this burial option.
Is a concrete vault or grave liner
required for burial?
An incorporated cemetery may require
the use of a burial vault. In the event that
this requirement confl icts with one’s
religious beliefs, it will be waived.
What are service charges?
Service charges are fees levied by cemeteries
for performing any service aft er
the purchase of the grave or lot. Th e
Cemetery Board must approve any service
charge increases proposed by regulated
cemeteries, and notice of these
approved charges are available to consumers
at the cemetery offi ce. Some
cemeteries have an approved, voluntary
perpetual care charge. Other cemeteries
may accept perpetual care gift s or
bequests. In any event, a cemetery cannot
refuse burial for nonpayment of perpetual
Can I sell my cemetery lot?
If there are any burials (bodies or cremated
remains) in the lot, it cannot be
sold. If there are no burials, you must
fi rst off er the lot back to the cemetery
under certain conditions spelled out by
the Division of Cemeteries.
For more information about cemeteries,
NYS Department of State - Division of
41 State Street
Albany, NY 12231-0001
518-474-6226 - or, in New York City,
NYS Division of Cemeteries
Th e important thing to remember is
to ask questions to get the information
you need to make an informed consumer
decision about your burial plans, and
to get everything in writing.
Courtesy of NYS Funeral Directors
Surviving a suicide loss
BY MARIANNE REID SCHROM
March 29, 2017 marks the 10-year anniversary
of when my world turned upside
down. You see, my brother John – a married
father of 2, respected entrepreneur at
age 24 – died by suicide on a warm, sunny
day back in 2007.
I had always known it’s basic human
nature to strive to do the ‘right thing’ and
make another’s burden lighter. But, I’ve
learned that one of the worst feelings in
the world is when you don’t know how to
help. Sometimes our best intentions and
desire to help just aren’t...enough.
I know that’s how I felt aft er John’s
death. I knew how much I was hurting,
and I certainly saw the raw emotion that
was eating away at my parents. Yet, for
months, all I could do was cry with them
and do grocery runs to pick up the essentials
– including tissues!
Sure, we had friends and family that
immediately came to the house when
they heard the news. We had casseroles
and fruit baskets covering every inch of
counter top and refrigerator space. We
had an amazing funeral director who prepared
my brother’s body for viewing and
was attentive to our every need. Our mailboxes
were overfl owing with sympathy
cards, and the church was bursting at its
seams during the service.
But then, in a matter of days, there were
no more casseroles. Th e sympathy cards
were replaced with the regular junk mail.
And the warm embraces at the funeral
service were replaced by whispers and
avoidance when we saw people we knew
around town. Reality set in.
Th ere’s so much stigma that still surrounds
suicide. Th e last seven years have
taught me that those who were insensitive
at the time probably meant well but were
just misinformed about grief and suicide.
I’m sure some people were afraid that suicide
could happen in their family, to them
or to a friend. Other people might have
been upset because suicide had already
changed their lives. I know now that most
of them struggled with what to say. But to
be quite honest, that silence was deafening.
Th at silence grew when my small
community experienced two additional
suicides over the next 12 months.
Th roughout that year, the burden grew
so heavy that I just couldn’t bear to carry
it myself anymore. I was determined to
fi nd someone who knew what this loss
was like. My family and I read every book
we could get our hands on. We received
cards from people who had also suff ered
tragic, unexpected losses, but none of
them had experienced a suicide death. It
wasn’t until I met another sister who had
also lost her little brother to suicide that
I began to feel that weight lift ing from
my shoulders. Still, I wish I was able to
fi nd support – for myself and my family
I’ve had the amazing opportunity to
meet hundreds of other families from all
over NY and the US during the last seven
years, who know what this type of devastating
loss is like – many of whose stories
are like mine. Many of these families felt
they had nowhere to turn. But – little by
little – that storyline is changing.
I only hope that over the next few
months and years that the families I meet
will tell me that it was their funeral director
who told them about a local support
group for survivors of suicide loss or provided
them with information booklets on
how to grieve a suicide death. As someone
who once sat at that arrangement conference
in a complete fog, I can honestly say
that my burden would have been lighter if
my family and I walked away with materials
specifi cally developed for us – survivors
of suicide loss.
The kind, supportive service we
received from our family funeral director
during the funeral services was great,
but it didn’t eliminate the sleepless nights
or blank stares at the wall when we didn’t
know “what next.” I certainly wish I knew
where to fi nd support immediately following
my brother’s death.
To learn more on how to cope with suicide
please visit the AFSP website, https://
Courtesy of NYS Funeral Directors