I was in a parking lot walking to the mall the first time I saw one. There it was on the bumper of a late model white sedan; a bumper sticker with small doves in the corners and the words “In Loving Memory of Sarah Johnson” followed by the dates of her birth and death. It was the strangest thing I’d ever seen. It made no sense to me but I didn’t think much of it until I saw more of them. One was a decal on the back window of a Chevy F10, another one appeared to be magnetic and was attached to the back door of a minivan. The more I saw them the more they annoyed me.
Now I’m not one to criticize the grieving/coping process of those that have lost a loved one. It’s a personal journey of grief that is different for everyone, but when it’s done with such a small amount of taste and tact, I can’t help but comment on it. What is the point of a memorial bumper sticker? I think people have lost the meaning of the phrase. It should be engraved on something of value, a memorial marker, a park bench in that person’s favorite outdoor setting, a donated seat at a local auditorium or a donated bookshelf or book collection at a local library in memory of an avid reader.
An adhesive piece of paper slapped on the bumper of the same car that your teenager makes out in the backseat of, and that you use to run errands with is not much of a memorial. Why do they have to stick something like that on their car? To prove that they’re grieving? To prove that they’ve lost someone? Everyone has lost someone buddy, that doesn’t mean you should stick their epitaph right next to your “Honk if you’re Horny” bumper sticker.
What is it about the car that is in Loving Memory of this person? Were they run over with the car? If that’s the case I need one for the front fender of mine that says in loving memory of Bambi, or maybe one for that squirrel I hit on 16th street. Is the car their final resting place? Is the body in the trunk?? Did the deceased leave them some money in the will and that’s what these people used to buy the car so they feel a need to acknowledge it?
Where do you get such a thing anyway? Do you think these people had them made up especially just for themselves? Did the family of the deceased hand them out at the funeral like politicians hand them out at parades? What do you do with the extra ones? It would be disgraceful to throw them out. Maybe they could be used as coasters. Hey why not make coasters? How about matchbooks, how about those engraved napkins to use at the wake. Maybe a shot glass or some of those decorative spoons that people collect.
The possibilities are endless. How about pens, pencils, maybe a lovely letterhead on a fancy memo pad? That grocery list or memo to the boss could certainly be in loving memory of Great Aunt Lilly. Grandpa always liked coffee, instead of a headstone let’s just have 500 coffee mugs printed up in memory of the old fart.
It boggles the mind.