My personal favorite was the part, "I'd trade an Ave for each rose, I can use that more than those"
This poem was a little inspired by the good amount of time I've been spending in a graveyard, visiting the graves of my father (who died last year) and aunt (his sister, who died not too long after him). I am always seeing people leaving flowers, statues, and all kinds of worldly items on the graves. Now I can see religious items, because they remind visitors of that other life, and to pray for these souls. And I can even see the flowers in a way, though ultimately, whether artificial or real, they're expensive as can be, and will often end up under the groundskeepers' lawn mowers (you try getting a ride-on mower between each grave!).But dog and cat statues, Bears and Packers gear, the deceased person's shoes, "gone fishin'" signs, and what I unaffectionately call "gypsy globes" ... those odd glass "gazing balls" people put on stands in their yards... do not help the soul in any way whatever. Rather, it carries on the ridiculousness of materialism where it has absolutely no place.
The ancient Egyptians used to bury their kings and nobles with statues of false gods, a store of food, other gifts and even their living slaves. As one who casually follows the archaeology news, I heard of a (viking?) grave that was dug up, where a woman had been buried with her kitchen utensils. Other religions offer food at the graves. These are pagan practices, which means they are not good.
Granted, Catholics leave flowers, I'm sure. And as I said, there is many a cross and an angel in that field of bones. Flowers... well, they are beautiful, and make the 'monument' of the loved one more beautiful, but... if you want to be technical, it doesn't help the person. And believe me, I can say almost with certainty, that whatever you pay for real flowers, you could probably... almost definitely had a mass said for the person's soul instead.
Gravestones are almost another matter. You can put a message on a headstone, asking prayers for the person. You can't really fit a message on a "budget" headstone. People used to write on the stone how the person died, and who they left behind... some declaring "wife and mother" or "husband and father." This means you could even know that there are relatives to pray for. Other stones once carried inscriptions along these lines. "Where you are now, I once was, and where I am now, you once will be." ... not exactly the same effect as "gone fishin'" or "Go Packers!" is it?
I dropped something like $32, I think, on two big and four smaller ARTIFICIAL roses, for the purpose of marking my father's grave before his headstone came in. Sadly, we could not afford a nice one with any kind of inscription. The quality of the flowers was NOT that great, and before long, it was run over by the lawnmower, not once, but several times, until it was just the flowers sticking out of the naked earth (no vase), and finally THOSE got run over. I'm not upset, as I can sympathize here with the man who mows the lawns. Contrary to our hurt feelings and sore pocketbooks, it really is unreasonable to ask the groundskeepers to stop every foot or so, carefully remove the decorations covering most graves, mow, and then carefully replace them. I would rather have had the mass said, in retrospect, but for the fact that there was no other way to remember at first where he was, while we were yet unfamiliar with the layout of the place or the natural landmarks. It is really very sad to see these souls showered with worldly gifts that do them no good, knowing how few of them are getting prayers (and we can be sure it's few, as even many Novus Catholics no longer believe in purgatory.)
And of course, think of the sadness of the poor souls, not only to see some of their good friends in error and danger of loosing their own souls, but also for the fact that those who declared themselves regularly to be their dearest friends on earth, and who claimed they would do anything at all for them, day or night... will not so much as 'humor them' now, by saying so much as "God have mercy on them" just in case.
The way many "Christians" deal with death these days is just bizarre and downright unnatural (like throwing a party and pretending to be happy about it). Other people go the other way and fall into bitter despair. And then there are those like my father's "neighbor" two graves over, which, every time I visit almost, has something more put on it... starting with a tiny picture on a stick, it now has a gravestone with a full color photo on it, many bouquets of real flowers (which must have cost hundreds by themselves), a great stone bench for sitting on, I think a second picture, a strange red dome-like thing that they use to cover the photo on the headstone, a 14 or 16 in Seraphim Classics angel... which to be sure had a three digit price tag... other statues besides, and most recently, three or four very large red stone brick formations, placed around the headstone no doubt to keep the lawn mower at bay. I almost expect one day in the future to look and see a full fledged building erected in the young man's honor.
But I think many a soul, if they could, would sign their names to these words!