Friday, 18 October 2013

My Mum and Dad's grave

In July 2012 – so two and half years after my Mum and Dad were killed – there was a horrible dispute between my Mum’s parents and the rest of the family about their gravestone.

I had returned from a holiday in Scotland with friends from university to find two letters waiting for me from Granddad. The first letter was a long moan about Mum and Dad's funeral complaining about how family and friends had spent more time supporting me than them and that how me standing out in front of the mourners talking about my Mum and Dad was "just showing off"!

The second letter said that they wanted to have the gravestone with Mum and Dad's details removed from the cemetery and swapped for one that didn't mention Dad at all.  Nan and Granddad wanted a new stone with no mention on the stone that Mum was married with children or that she had a sister. All it was going to say was "daughter of X and Y" with the date she was killed. It was like Dad and the rest of us don't exist, or matter. They said that as they owned the plot they could do what they like and that they were doing it because the family had been "so disrespectful towards them".

I was absolutely frantic at this news. I spoke to my Dad’s parents in Florida who were equally shocked. I then spoke to the Head of the Cemetery department. Adding names to a grave is easy and isn't a problem but taking a name off a stone when they are ** known to be buried there** made them very uneasy indeed. They told me that If Granddad went ahead I could, as Mum and Dad's next of kin, apply to have their bodies exhumed (a word I had not heard until then) and to have them buried together again in another plot with a stone of my choosing. I would be under "no legal or moral obligation" to tell Nan or Granddad where the new grave was either.

In August my Dad's parents, my Dad's brother, my Mum's sister and I hired a solicitor to represent all of us against Granddad. The rest of them wouldn't accept any money from me from this which was very kind of them. Our joint case was helped by me finding a letter that Granddad had sent me in 2011 in which he said that although he paid for the grave plot he would let me choose the wording on the stone. Our solicitor was confident that this means that Granddad didn’t have the legal right to remove my stone and put another one there with his own choice of words.

Our solicitor phoned Granddad who agreed that my Mum would certainly have wanted Dad's name on the grave and he wasn't able to explain to our solicitor what removing Dad's name would do except upset lots of people. Granddad then offered to sell me the plot where Mum and Dad were buried at a 400% profit but a few weeks later he sold it to me for exactly what he paid in the first place plus a small transfer fee to the Council.

So then I owned the stone and the plot and all talk about removing Dad's name from the stone ended.  All the sensible members of the family were pleased that the nastiness was over, me most of all because it had been worrying and upsetting me so much.


  1. That is just disgusting. It amazes me how evil/selfish people can become after auch a devastating loss. What my step dad had engraved on my mother's gravestone bothered me as well and still does. She was buried at a Military cemetary and took up so much space writing how she is the wife of a chief so and so listimg his command and rank that all that was left to be added was FIRST, Beloved WIFE and "mom". Not even mother. It just made me feel like okay she was my mom for 24 years, she waa only your wife for 13. And he even filed for divorce right before she died but it was denied due to error. I wiah it said Beloved Mother & Wife, in that order. Oh well

  2. I am so sorry this happened to you. I have a situation with my mom's plot as well. It belongs to my aunt and she never told me that my mom being there was temporary until last year, on my mother's birthday mind you, she said that I would have to exhume my mother and transfer to a different plot because that was hers and her husband's. This aaunt is also my godmother and leader of her group at church. That made me so angry and sad. I have started paying for a plot, which is very expensive too, but I know I will be better off once that is done and I can move my mom to the new one. Amazing how our relatives can be so cruel...