Cemetery regulations leaving mother heartbroken


"I'm just a heartbroken mom"

ROGERS, Ark. (KFTA) — Losing a child is something no parent wants to experience and for one local woman, the place she needs to heal from the loss is now a place she dreads.

Courtesy of Ladena Wilson

Ladena Wilson lost her newborn three years ago and has been coming to the Rogers Cemetery ever since to leave special things on her daughter’s grave site marker.

“I put pretty things on her grave,” Wilson said. “I had a special cross made out of horseshoes that looks like a little angel that I put out here year ago.”

Courtesy of Ladena Wilson

“I’ve been doing this for almost three years now and now I come out here and I dread it because there is nothing to look at.”

Ladena Wilson

On Tuesday (October 1) Wilson came to visit and found just about everything from the grave site was gone, even her daughter’s name marker.

“I just don’t understand,” she said. “I would’ve loved to been able to come out here and collect her stuff and I didn’t get that opportunity.”

Courtesy of Ladena Wilson

Wendy Jones, Rogers Parks and Recreation Operations Manager, said the items on Wilson’s daughter’s grave site marker were in rough shape and thrown away.

“If it doesn’t look like something that is salvageable we throw it away,” she said. “It’s a very delicate situation and so we put up a sign at the entrance just to remind people of the rules.”

According to Jones, these are all rules that people agreed to when they bought a plot at the Rogers Cemetery.

“When she died I didn’t think about reading through all the paperwork,” Wilson said. “Coming out here I noticed not everyone had a headstone so I didn’t assume that I had to have one right then and there.”

Including the rule that states they must have a marble or granite headstone that can withstand weather for decades.

Jones said Wilson along with more than 100 others don’t have permanent headstones.

“When you sign the paper and you purchase a spot, this is just part of the whole process,” Jones said.

She said the cemetery is trying its best to notify families, but overall will be enforcing these rules due to to overcrowding and complaints.

“Its just unfortunate,” Jones said. “I wish this mom (Wilson) would’ve called me and I would’ve loved to have met her out there and explained and maybe even have help her come up with a solution.”

Wilson said her intentions were not to get anyone in trouble or fired.

She said she simply wants people who also have children buried at the Rogers Cemetery to be aware of these rules.

“There’s still plenty of things out here that can be taken away and if a parent wants them, you might want to come get them,” she said.

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