The grave site is different for everyone. For some, like me, they come and go on a needed basis. I go when the mood hits and always on holidays and birthdays. For others, like my mother, it means more. She has said she knows her soul is not there, but that is where her body is and it is the body she carried inside her and healed when sick and hugged daily. The grave is a place to leave gifts for loved ones, which are rotated in and out with each season, holiday and birthday, as that person is not here anymore to get real gifts. In our case the grave is one of the only memories my sisters kids and my younger two have of her.
I will never forget the day my daughter told me “My Aunt Sharron lives in the flowers”. It took my breath. But I could see how for a 3 year old (at the time) that is how she sees it. Because when you look around you see flowers and gifts as far as your eye can see. It is an unspoken understanding among those who have lost someone that you don’t take from a grave. Be it a penny, a water bottle, or a smoke, you leave it there as it was placed there by a loved one to get when they return for it and normally you pick up flowers that have blown over in the wind.
At birthdays and such the grave yard is somewhat of a play place for our 4 young kids. They will grow up knowing that in March and Aug of every year we all gather to grieve there and they run through the flowers and read the graves and know their mother and Aunts grave by her flowers and her solar lights. This is a place that her daughter could come and place a note for her she writes; put balloons on her birthday and other little gifts that NO CHILD should have to leave for a parent they lost at such an age.
But not any longer.
Evergreen Cemetery took it upon their selves to jerk up any item that was not a flower in a built in vase from graves this week. They did this 2 days after Easter, breaking their own rules of allowing 5 days to go back for holiday décor. They even tore down flags, which were within the rules, off Veteran’s graves. They did all this with no notice to the plot owners or their loved ones. They did this with no apology and threw it all in a pile like it was trash, including the flags. Local media has been there and they are all in hiding, yet the papers they have the groundskeeper handing out, says that they agree all issues are handled through the office. If you knock on the office door, you are told to go away.
Every single person I have talked with says the same thing. Had they put a notice in the paper or reached out in some way to explain some gifts were getting out of hand and they needed them removed, each one would have had no issue going to get them. But instead they took them, threw them in a pile and broke them. For many it is traumatic, as going to the grave is a party of healing therapy and grieving. I remember before my sister had a headstone putting flowers and a cross on her grave to mark it. They were in a cemetery vase and just simple. This week they took even those off graves with no head stones, so these people have no way to even mark a grave now. They have said they plan to sweep through each section and do this to every grave with no sign of being sorry. I don’t know how they sleep at night.