Saturday, April 22, 2006

Durbanville Memorial Park

A number of people have asked us for some info about the memorial park where Kendra was laid to rest. Last time I went there I took some pictures and here are the nicest. The memorial park is a fairly new trend in places to lay your loved ones to rest. It replaces the traditional cemetery where the graves are all placed in a row with big headstones. As the name implies they are trying to create more of a park atmosphere. There are private standalone ash graves like Kendra's, as well as smaller ash graves in circles such as the picture above with all the roses. There is also an area for conventional graves but it is in the grass and no upright headstones are allowed, only plaques sunk into the grass. Only phase 1 has been completed so far. They are busy building a larger chapel (we could not fit all our guests in the existing 1 for Kendra's service, but we did have a large number of people attending), a crematorium and also a coffee shop. I do not know of another park like this in Cape Town, but I may be mistaken. I must say we have also received very good service from them. The phone number for the park is 021 975 5199.

And no, they did not pay me to advertise for them, but we felt that if we can help anyone out there with some advice then we would like to do that. When we were at the hospital, we were asked which funeral home we would like to use. Now what kind of a question is that for parents who have just lost their baby? Obviously we do not keep the names of funeral parlours handy! So they gave us the number of Avbob in Bellville. It was either there or in Maitland. So we thought that the one in Bellville would be nicer. Well, we were sadly mistaken. Firstly, if they had told us that the one in Bellville did not have a crematorium then we would probably have chosen the one in Maitland since she had to be sent there from Bellville anyway. Secondly, the one in Bellville was in a really crappy part of town. Going there was a horrible experience and I feel that if we had not received good advice from friends about deciding what we wanted up front, then they may have railroaded us into buying things we did not actually want. I think that the hospital did have some other options but they gave us the cheapest ones, and we were in no state to think clearly and they said they had to phone them to fetch her that evening.

I know it is not a nice thing to think about when you and your loved ones are alive and well, but I am thinking that it might be worth looking into these things beforehand in order to lessen the trauma if, heaven forbid, any of your family should pass away. Also it is quite expensive. We went for some slightly less expensive options and also had a lot of help from friends, from advice to catering to printing, so it could have cost us a lot more than it actually did.

Anyway this is all just my 2 cents worth but hopefully it will help someone out there.

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