Grave expressions in Britain

We in the US have become accustomed to the roadside displays maintained by family and friends of highway accidents. And we’re are that in our cemeteries not everyone agrees on what is a tasteful grave.

In the UK they’ve taken it to a whole new level.

The sight and sound of these exhibitions grows ever more exuberant – so much so that an Essex council is introducing a one-month limit on what can be put on a grave. Other councils are surely likely to follow.

Traditionalists argue that graveyards are places of peace and contemplation and those who visit to lay flowers on Mum’s grave shouldn’t have to negotiate their way past piles of soft toys or be ­disturbed by the cacophony of competing wind-chimes. But for their part, those who want to heap graves with cuddly toys protest their right to remember their dead in whatever way they choose. Which means that anything goes, from a gravestone in the shape of a Newcastle United shirt, to life-sized effigies of the deceased, to resin pigs and dogs, ­plastic dolphins and even meerkats.

[A] public graveyard cannot ‘allow’ the unbridled shriek of competitive grief, because it’s a shared space and your way of mourning may detract from someone else’s. There has to be consideration for others, since, in matters of life and death, we’re all in this together.

Click to see the kinds of displays she’s describing.

How would you describe this as competitive grief, detracting someone else’s? Is it snobbish to judge and regulate how others grieve?

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