Cemetery visitor helps people find closure

July 21, 2011 8:19:56 PM PDT
The solitary walk to the gravestone, the silent but sincere prayer, and finally the gentle placement of a stone, proof that someone has been there. For Terry Marotta-Lopriore, it's all in a day's work.

"I provide services for those who, for whatever reason cannot come to the cemetery," Marotta-Lopriore said.

On this day, Terry is visiting the Valhalla gravesite of Stanley Jaffe, at the request of his son Rich who lives on Long Island but is simply emotionally unable to visit the cemetery himself.

"I quite honestly suffer from panic attacks when I go, or I even think about my father and his passing, his death," Rich Jaffe said.

Rich says he was very close to his father and has felt guilty about not being able to pay his respects. Through Terry, though, he now has.

"I wanted my own thoughts and my own beliefs expressed in a very specific way and Terry was able to help me do that," Jaffe said.

Terry says she's felt a special connection with the dearly departed since childhood and a visit to her own father's grave inspired this new business.

Terry posted her first ad less than six weeks ago and already she's gotten nearly two dozen inquiries and seven jobs.

Whether it's placing a flag, flowers, stones or something even more personal, Terry will fulfill your request, including photos as a lasting memento.

The service runs $25 or $35 per visit, depending on the cemetery location, but Terry insists money is not why she does this.

"I get a lot out of it so part of me it's selfish, but I really want to teach people also just come and visit it's really not a morbid place," Marotta-Lopriore said.