By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS)— Local cemeteries can’t control nature, during these freeze thaw cycles, but unlike some areas to our north which suspend burials until the spring thaw, the mourning process is not delayed.
These freeze-thaw cycles that we’ve had this winter so far have not impacted grieving families who say their last goodbyes at area cemeteries.
In mid-winter, while it’s harsh for workers, the fully mechanized equipment they use, like backhoes, get the job done:
“People die on their own schedule.’
Pete Hoskins, President of West Laurel Hill in Bala Cynwyd and Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia made his observation as workers laid out a grave for internment.
“We want to be there 365-days a year, to be there when they need us.”
Director Robert Whomsley of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Catholic Cemeteries Office says the real challenges come during the spring thaw.
“If you have some frost that’s still in the ground, you have maybe an inch or two of mud and thawed ground on top of more frost.”
There are more rural regions to our north that still carry on a practice of putting bodies in cemetery holding crypts or funeral homes, until the frozen ground thaws enough to dig a grave.