The headstone.

The headstone.

We had to rebury our Mom.

No one should have to do this. 



We did.


Press the life button.  Hold.

The last four years...

Raising our children.

Caring for her terminally ill child.

Full time employment.

Doctor appointments.



Watching our Mom fade away. 

Saying goodbye to our leader. 


Release button.  Restart life.


Spring warmed the frozen ground.

Five months had passed since Mom passed away.

It was time to place the headstone on Mom’s grave.


The caretaker yelled.

He was enraged. 

He verbally abused me. 


The headstone was the wrong size he said.

He accused us of violating the by-laws.



What by-laws?


This old country cemetery was run by a man, who, apparently, required anger management.

His family made up the board of directors.

They weren’t talking.


He did not give us or, the funeral home any by-laws. 

Had he done so, we would have followed the bylaws. 

He would not hear this. 


I became the family advocate. 

I made phone calls to the folks at the municipal level of government.

They required the complaint to be put in writing.

I wrote a letter of complaint to the folks at the municipal level of government.

They contacted the angry caretaker.

The angry caretaker was just as abusive with those folks.

They contacted the provincial level of government.

This level of government required the complaint be put in writing.

I wrote a letter of complaint to the folks at the provincial level.

They contacted the angry caretaker.

The angry curator kicked them off his property. 

The situation became a legal one. 

The provincial government took the police with them to visit the angry caretaker.

The angry caretaker refused to hand over any paperwork.

The angry caretaker refused to cooperate.

The angry caretaker told them to get a lawyer. 


The government continued to need information from me.

They continued to ask for letters of complaint. 

They wanted me to lead a parade of protest against this curator. 

They actually asked me to take over the caretaker’s job.


Finally, a mediator made some progress with the angry caretaker.

He held strong there were by-laws and we were aware of them.

With pressure, his story changed.

He declared Mom was buried in the wrong plot.

He said it belonged to another family.

He insisted Mom be moved. 

As per the invisible by-laws, our stand up headstone would be accepted in that row. 


Our initial reaction to this new information was similar to the angry caretaker’s.

The mediator...mediated.

He reminded us of our goal. 

He reminded us the government would be taking the caretaker to court and revoking him of his duties.

He reminded us of the proverbial lengthy timeline involved.


We just wanted Mom buried in peace. 

We just wanted the beautiful headstone to mark her grave. 

We submitted to this angry caretaker’s deal.


Nine months after our Mom had died, we re-buried her.

We moved her forward four feet. 

We stood and watched the backhoe,

We stood and watched the angry caretaker,

We stood and watched Mom’s remains be lifted out of the earth. 


The government shook our hands before we left.

He said it would take some time, but, they would deal with the angry caretaker. 

He said they would be in touch. 


I believed him. 

We all did.


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