“I used to love her, but I had to kill her. I had to put her six feet under, and I can still hear her complain.” So sang Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses in an ode to putting one’s lover on the wrong side of sod. Or it’s about burying a dog, no one is sure. My favorite version of this masterpiece is by Voodoo Glow Skulls, but GNR wrote it and they are a rocking band. A few more hits, they would be in my top ten. But that leads to today’s question, can you bury the wife (or husband) in the back yard?
You know I always say we have a law for everything, yet amazingly, there is no Georgia law on burying your wife in the backyard. I am dead serious on this. Georgia has a law that says you can’t burn her on a funeral pyre (OCGA 31-21-5) and you can’t just scatter those ashes anywhere (OCGA 31-21-4), as I’ve discussed before. But if you want to bury her, have at it. Maybe. Turns out, most cities and counties fill in the gap left by the Legislature and have a law for just such an ominous occasion.
“I knew I’ll miss her so I had to keep her, She’s buried right in my back yard.”
Warner Robins, Perry and Centerville all have rules about cemeteries so you can’t do what Axl is suggesting in those fine municipalities. Houston County’s Comprehensive Land Development Regulations, Sec. 98, says that if you are building a cemetery in a district permitting cemeteries, you follow the same rules that the cities have. But what if you aren’t in one of those districts? Remember, you can do what the law doesn’t prohibit. Since the county doesn’t prohibit cemeteries generally, one can make the argument that at home burials are permissible. I’ve seen lawyers win cases on less.
So in Houston County, there is an argument that you can bury her six feet under in the back yard, although it is illegal to bury building materials on your property (Sec. 50-21, Houston County Code). And we always say six feet under, but since there is no code section on it, six feet is a lot of work, so maybe the hole will be a bit more shallow. It doesn’t say you can’t bury her unless you are in an approved district. Furthermore, show me where it says she has to be in a box. You can solemnly place her in the hole with all the dignity she deserves, but if you toss in scrap building materials, now you’ve got problems.
I checked my subdivision covenants and don’t see anything about burying a body in the yard. There are rules prohibiting oil and mining operations, location of satellite dishes and assorted other things, but nothing about graves. I suspect your covenants, if you live in a subdivision, are about the same as mine.
“She (complained) so much, she drove me nuts, And now I’m happier this way.”
The advantage of burying her when she’s dead is that she can’t complain about the location in the yard, right? I mean, at that point, it’s all up to you. Whether you plant her under the oak tree (lots of roots to work through) or by the gladiolus (where the dirt is softer), it is finally your decision alone. No more “you shoulda done this or that.” I think that is what Axl is talking about when he still can hear her complain.
And finally, Axl Rose is an anagram. Who knew?