Dear Annie: Is there any accepted etiquette about who plants flowers at a gravesite?
My husband died eight years ago. I commissioned a beautiful gravestone to be hand-carved from native stone. I planted perennials at the grave, and I touch up and replant each year. On numerous occasions, his ex-wife (who has remarried twice) has planted flowers at the grave without consulting me. Most recently, she planted flowers where I had planted early perennials. She built the area up with a mound of soil and mulch so that when her plants grow, they will hide some of the beautiful hand carving on the stone in addition to burying some of my plantings.
I feel this is inappropriate. It is my privilege, not hers, to care for my husband’s grave. This is especially grating because she did everything she could to exclude me from my stepchildren’s lives after their father’s death. We have been able to interact in a friendlier manner in recent years, and she did eventually apologize for her past behavior. I don’t want to create a new problem, but this just aggravates the heck out of me. Am I off base? – Cranky in Kansas
Dear Cranky: While there are no restrictions on who can place flowers at a gravesite, the ex-wife sounds a little passive-aggressive in her approach. Try co-opting her. Call and say you noticed the lovely flowers she left, but trust she didn’t intentionally dig up yours and plan to cover the carving so her children couldn’t see it. Ask her to come along the next time so the two of you can make it beautiful together and so she will know exactly how you want it to look. If she still digs up your plants, it’s OK to remove hers.