Losing someone you love is always hard. Some people never get over that loss, and others find different ways to cope through the pain. One way that people may find a source of peace is through visiting their loved ones at their graves, while leaving behind flowers or small mementos.
But for some families in New York who visit St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery, decorating their loved one’s grave will no longer be a part of their visitation rituals.
Christine Weiner and others came to the cemetery to see that the gifts that they left for their loved ones had been throw in a dumpster, without any prior warning.
Weiner had left her late son some toys at his grave, and when she came back his tombstone area was empty. This was more than just decoration for Weiner; these items had value.
“They took all my little angels that have been here for over 20 years! They’re only a couple of inches high. They took my heart!” she explained to CBS New York.
She lost her son when he was just two years old. The mom had only wanted a meaningful way to honor his memory and continue to connect with him.
A man by the name of Mr. Mesuda lost his daughter ten years ago, and her tombstone was also wiped clean. He told CBS New York that the cemetery throwing their things away is not right because “it’s all we have left.”
The families who visit regularly and decorate their loved ones’ graves were hurt by the actions of the cemetery, but they explained their set of rules: No plastic flowers/vases, ornaments/decorations, or trinkets/statues.
Luckily, some people may still be able to retrieve their loved one’s things.
A woman named Jessica Paterson was shocked at what was happening to these grieving family.
“It was heartbreaking, I had tears in my eyes,” she expressed to CBS New York.
Paterson went to the cemetery and began to gather and take photos of all the valuable things and decorations that were placed in the trash. She then began to try to reunite people with their belongings by posting photos of them online. On her Facebook page, there are photos of stuffed animals, angel sculptures, and other valuable items.
Her effort to help return the items back to their loved ones was a welcome step towards helping grieving families.
A woman named Kelly Youmans commented, “This is just heartbreaking. Thank you for bringing this to everyone’s attention and for taking the time to collect all the items you have.”
Marie Hughes commented, “Thank you again for being so vocal about this situation. It was because of one of your posts that I was able to get back the cast iron angel that has been at my daughter’s grave for more than five years.”
“Thank you for speaking out for all of us!!” commented Jo Michele.