Reflections on “The Buoy”

No Responses
  by Roseann Clavelli

Beautifully and emotionally written, and yes, a full box of Kleenex was necessary.

For me, Ed’s reflection was especially meaningful, having recently wrenched with the same decision about cremation or burial when my beloved son was accidentally killed. His friends said, “He would want to be cremated, and his ashes should be scattered on a golf course.” But, of course, we never had this discussion with our son, an unmarried adult — but still our “child” — and we had divided (and sometimes, strong) opinions within our own family.

We discussed, deliberated and debated options, and in the process of grieving and trying to make this very important decision to determine Rob’s final resting spot, we changed our minds multiple times over the course of two days.

Ultimately, we chose traditional burial, upon the advice of a family member, who thought (in retrospect, so wisely, and who knew me so well) about what would be best for the surviving family members. For me, he thought that when the shock began to fade, I especially would need and want to have a quiet, nearby place where I could visit, along with a headstone to touch, knowing this was the last spot on Rob’s short life’s journey. And, I am an ardent genealogist, so having a permanent memorial where people seeking our family’s roots could see and touch an ancestor’s resting place also was a consideration. (See a genealogy poem* below – author unknown.)

However, everyone deals with the aftermath of grief differently, and what is right for one person may not be an appropriate decision for another. This is a very, very personal decision, and there is no “right” answer – just what is right for each individual.

I now have to rethink my own final plans — which were written several years ago to alleviate my family’s guesswork and struggle — but should now be revisited because circumstances have changed dramatically. I would encourage anyone who reads this poignant piece to make a decision — whatever choice is selected — and let your family, friend or executor know. It’s not easy to begin a discussion about your own mortality and final wishes, but it is needed and appreciated by those who survive.

RIP, beloved Annabelle and beloved Rob, and know that your families have loved and honored you in the best way they knew at the saddest of times — and they continue to love and honor you.


Your tombstone stands among the rest,
Neglected and alone.
The name and date are chiseled out
On polished, marbled stone.
It reaches out to all who care;
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist,
You died, and I was born.
Yet, each of us are cells of you,
In flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse,
Entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
One hundred years ago,
Spreads out among the ones you left,
Who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew,
That someday I would find this spot,
And come to visit you.

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