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Monday, June 28, 2010

June 28th, 2010

The first though on my mind when I woke up this morning was to call the cemetery. I waited until Dayne was awake, settled and watching a good show, so he wouldn't disrupt the call. My expectations were simple. I expected the person on the other end of the phone to apologize. I expected some sort of excuse "Oh, there was two different shifts that did the digging and filling..." or "This was a horrible mistake, our workers must have missed the huge rosary sitting directly on top of the grave" You know, something that I wouldn't accept as a GOOD excuse, but something. I also expected that they would tell me that they would, of course, make sure that something like this didn't happen again, they would make sure that the people responsible for this were informed of what they did, how it impacted my family and made to understand that this was something that WOULD never happen again.
It was for this reason that I started out calm in my explanation of what happened. The response I got from the woman on the phone was not calm in return. I did not get my expected apology on behalf of the cemetery staff, I did not get my promise that this would never happen again, I did not get an excuse or explanation of what may have happened. Instead, the woman on the phone gave me attitude, treated me like an idiot and was completely flippant about the entire situation.
Her first response, before I was even finished explaining my problem was to tell me that I was assuming this was what happened to my daughter's grave, that I didn't know for sure. Even though everyone else I have spoken to (including two different people from the city) agree that it's obvious that my daughter's rosary was buried in another grave. I could have accepted her statement, it was one that had fluttered through my head as a possible excuse, but I quickly dismissed it because of how obvious it was that what I was saying was the truth and not an assumption. My refusal to accept and politely counter her assertion that I was just some idiot that didn't know what she was talking about came from the attitude that the woman on the phone had.
She was horrible. Not only did she have this disrespectful attitude with me right off the bat, but she continuously cut me off while I was trying to speak, she refused to acknowledge that the staff there could have done anything wrong. When I tried to tell her that there was empty spots all around my daughters grave, where they could have piled the dirt, she told me that I didn't know that, saying "Not everyone can afford a headstone you know!" Yeah,  know that you idiot. I told her that when we paid for the plot we were told that there were no other children buried on either side of our daughter and none had been buried there until this one. She said nothing in response to that.
I carried on to tell her that the people had removed my daughter's pin wheel and stuffed animals and tossed them above her grave carelessly. She cut me off again to say "It doesn't matter because you're not even supposed to have stuffed animals there!" I was dumbfounded. I thought that she must be thinking of some other area of the cemetery. I clarified "There are stuffed animals at all the graves in the children's area" to which she replied "Yeah, because we know what people are going through, but it's illegal, there are bylaws you know!"
I would like to point out that, when I called the city to lodge a complaint against her, I was informed that there is no such bylaw.
At one point in the conversation I said "We just lost our daughter and now we have to deal with this, don't you people understand how important these things at her grave are?" she responded that she knew exactly how I felt because she lost a child last year. I could not hold my tongue. I did not believe her, if that was true, she would not be treating me like this, she just wouldn't. So I responded asking "Oh yeah? Did someone desecrate YOUR child's grave?" She told me that no one had desecrated MY child's grave. I disagree. The definition of desecrate is to violate the sacredness of something. I would say that is exactly what they did to my daughter's resting place.
The woman at the cemetery kept me on the phone for 15-20 minutes with nothing but cruelty the entire time. I was hysterical when I got off the phone. I called Steve at work, crying uncontrollably. He told me to take a few minutes to calm down and  call the city and lodge a complaint, and I did. I hope she loses her job.
I also contacted the media. That cemetery doesn't want to deal with one grieving family kindly, they will deal with the general public, and I guarantee they will be far less forgiving than we are.
I am currently waiting for the outdoor staff supervisor of the cemetery to call me. I'm also waiting for someone from the city to call me back. It's horrible that after everything we have gone through we are not considering looking into digging up our daughter and moving her somewhere else. Away from my grandfather, away from the area where I have connected with her since just a few days after she was born. Somewhere new, where she will be alone. And it's not fair. I will have to relive that whole time and it is breaking my heart.


  1. Melissa, I am SO SO sorry to hear you've had to go through this! It's terrible that something like this has happened surrounding the loss of your sweet Alexandra. I hope the city does something or at least the cemetary. The way the woman acted on the phone is uncalled for, especially in that kind of business. They are supposed to be courteous, respectful and understanding! All I can say is, I'm so sorry. ((((((HUGS)))))))))

  2. Oh god, Melissa, I am so sorry. :(

  3. I am sad for you. You're right - you should not have to deal with this along with everything else. I hope there will be a resolution.

  4. I am so sorry. This just makes me sad. I hope that woman is fired.

  5. This makes me so angry! I wish I lived nearby so I could go there and lodge a complaint as a concerned citizen!