No parent should ever have to bury their child. I have no idea how anyone is able to get through that.
When you lose a loved one, being able to create a suitable tribute to them where you can mourn and celebrate their lives is at least a small comfort.
That’s what grieving mom Jo Corbett-Weeks found when she was finally able to erect the perfect headstone for her son.
Devastatingly, when she went back to visit the grave three days later, the headstone was gone.
Max Corbett-Gardener passed away at just 4 years old due to complications from epilepsy.
His grieving mother spent years saving up for the perfect headstone to commemorate her son’s life. After saving $4,580 she was able to purchase a touching star-shaped headstone, which she installed on a very special day.
“It would have been Max’s 7th birthday on the Sunday, and this was like a birthday present to him from me,” Jo told the BBC. “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.”
To Jo’s horror, when she went back to visit Max’s grave three days later, the headstone was gone.
‘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. 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.”
She reported the incident to Malvern Town Council, the authority responsible for the graveyard, only to find that they would not reinstall the headstone.
Jo had opted to bury her son next to other relatives in the graveyard, instead of in the childrens’ cemetary. When she erected Max’s special star headstone, the council received complaints from another family.
“We have a conformity of shapes in our lawn cemetery,” the council said in a statement. “We were contacted by people who objected to the shape. It was a very difficult decision to remove it, but one we had to make straight away.”
They 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 say they are now working with the family to redesign Ma’s headstone. But for Jo and her family, the situation has caused their grief to be renewed.
“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.”
I hope that this family can have a place to truly grieve and find peace very soon and that Max gets the memorial he deserves.
Share this story to help Max be remembered.
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