Mobile Memorials

I rarely go anywhere in my car these days without seeing a ‘mobile memorial’ on someone’s car on the road. By this I mean an applied “In memory of XXXX XXXX” decal type thing, listing their birth and death years, usually on a rear window of the car. From what I’ve observed, it seems that most of these deal with someone who died young, age 30 or younger usually, though I’ve seen ones honoring older people too.

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It’s apparently a very popular thing around Orlando; is it as prevalent in other parts of the country or around the world?

I haven’t observed any trends in type of car, age of driver, area of town, etc. I don’t think I’d grieve so publicly or continually myself. Anyone have one of these on their car? If you do, why do you do it?

I have pondered this before, and was reminded of it today when I read a post from a highlighted blogger in today’s Freshly Pressed:

After reading the post, I decided that perhaps our customs with regard to funerals leave something to be desired and leave us wanting or needing more ways to express grief or ongoing remembrance. I don’t know. I lost my father years ago, when I was 20. The funeral is a blur to me, I remember a lot of people, I remember being sad, but mostly I remember not realizing how many lives my father had touched until his funeral – which saddened me the most. How could I not know that?

 Maybe those “mobile memorials” I see are not just devotions to those who died young, but a way for the younger generation to express their grief; they did, after all, come of age in a time when social media dominates how they interact. Perhaps it’s an offshoot of that.

I spoke to my husband about this, and he had a good thought – that today’s youth are pushed to excel at younger and younger ages, and as a whole society is becoming more individualistic; perhaps they are finding new ways to grieve given their inability to do so otherwise (due to the complexity of their lives today). Maybe it’s just another way to communicate publicly; people (over)use social media, in which it’s become common to post personal things in frivolous ways. Maybe it’s harder for people to keep anything private anymore; they are so use to sharing everything so publicly. Not sure; but it’s something I ponder when I see those decals.

I’d be interested in comments, particularly by those who have such moblie memorials posted on their vehicles!