Losing a child is probably the hardest thing that a parent can face.
So, imagine if your child’s life was taken too soon and on top of all the rampant emotions from the loss, you had to deal with strangers complaining about the memorial that was placed in your child’s honor?
One mother is fuming after council chiefs removed her deceased son’s headstone because another family complained that the star-shaped stone wasn’t “in keeping” with the rest of the cemetery.
When Max Corbett-Gardener was only four years old, he passed away due to complications from severe epilepsy. Shortly after the boy passed, his mother, Jo Corbett-Weeks, started saving her money to design a custom-made headstone with a teddy bear holding a star inscribed on it. Hoping to have a meaningful tribute to her son, Weeks, had saved up $4,580 to have the headstone designed and erected on Max’s grave on what would have been his seventh birthday.
Much to Weeks’ surprise, the headstone was removed from the Great Malvern Cemetery in Worcestershire just three days later.
“It would have been Max’s seventh birthday on Sunday, and this was like a birthday present to him from me,” Corbett-Weeks, who has two other children ages 16 and 5, said. “I chose a star-shaped stone because I wanted something suitable for Max – something personal. This stone is just so perfect for my poor little chap.”
Apparently, the complaint stemmed from a family complaining that the stone was not “in keeping” with the cemetery and the council members removed it without even notifying the 42-year-old mother.
“I was totally unaware this was going on. The council did not contact me and it was the stonemason who told me he’d been ordered to remove it,” Corbett-Weeks explained. “I feel upset, distressed and angry. We have been through so much as a family. I could understand if the grave was uncared for or unsightly, but it isn’t. The headstone meant a lot to me and the family but now we are fighting to have it put back. It’s a horrible situation. We just want to have somewhere to grieve.”
The memorial was placed in the adult section of the cemetery, where Max was buried so that he could be close to family members.
The council defended themselves by saying that the application hadn’t been received within the usual time frame, so they felt that the removal was warranted. They also went on to say that if it had been placed in the children’s section of the cemetery, then there wouldn’t have been an issue.
“It wasn’t necessarily an objection to the shape but why we appeared to be applying one rule to one family and other rules to another,” the spokesman continued. “The stonemason in this situation did not have permission to put the stone up – and the stone is not in keeping with the graves in that area. By not following the correct process he has caused considerable distress to both families.”
The council is arranging a meeting with Corbett-Weeks to discuss a new design for her son’s headstone.