December 04, 2007

Highland Garden of Memories is disrespectful of the dead.

I'm so angry right now that I'm not sure how to tell this story. When someone dies there is certain amount of respect and sensitivity that needs to be shown to the deceased and their love ones. Unfortunately my Grandmother did not receive that. It wasn't any guests that did it, it wasn't family. It wasn't the church or the funeral home. It was the cemetery and their staff that was disrespectful to my grandmother and my family.

We all know you don't get to plan a funeral months in advance. You have a short time in which all arrangements need to be made and to schedule everything. My grandmother already had a funeral plot, next to my grandfather that passed away 9 and a half years ago. My uncle took care of contacting the cemetery. Highland Garden of Memories in Belvedere, IL. He had originally scheduled the internment at 3:00 but because the manager of the cemetery told him it would conflict with another burial, they moved it back to 3:30. The manager told my uncle that wouldn't be a problem, we just wouldn't have a tent. That wasn't an issue.

The visitation and services were lovely and there were no problems. When we arrived at the cemetery instead of going to the grave they took us to a chapel on site. I was confused, so where the rest of my cousins and family. We figured they would have the graveside services... well graveside. No apparently they decided it was too dark for them to do the work so they were going to do it the next day. We ended up having to leave my grandmother in her casket inside this chapel overnight. We had family friends, relatives and others that wanted to pay their respects there to see my grandmother interred, and weren't able to. They had us over a barrel, it's not like we could take her and go someplace else.

I went back this morning at 10:30 AM for the interment because I felt someone should be there and say something. Fortunately My uncle that made the arrangements was able to take the extra time to drive two hours down to attend as well as an aunt that was able to come down from Milwaukee to join Ktreva and I. The funeral home even sent someone out to supervise the workers to make sure everything was done properly. My aunt and a friend of hers were the first to arrive, I arrived shortly after them. When the cemetery workers and manager showed up they asked if we were ready. My aunt told them we were going to wait for the my uncle and the funeral home representative. The funeral home representative arrived next and the manager wanted to get started. Again we had to tell him we were going to wait for my uncle.

While waiting the manager and my aunt had an exchange of words. My aunt, who is in seminary school studying to be a Lutheran minister, told the manager just how unhappy she was. She was very angry and upset, and she had ever right to be. Now you need to understand, my aunt is a very docile person. I've never seen her get angry, raise her voice or say a harsh word. When she laid into this guy, it kind of threw me off.

When my uncle arrived we moved Grandma from the chapel to the grave. This cemetery doesn't have standing headstones, it has grave markers flush to the ground. Thew workers put my grandmother's casket onto a trolley and rolled her across the grounds to the grave by rolling over other people's markers and graves. I escorted my grandmother on the trip because I was a pallbearer, and I wanted to make sure she was handled properly. My aunt walked with me and we both were kind of taken back by this non-caring attitude the employees had. I felt bad walking across other peoples graves. I tried to not, but with the snow on the ground and the markers being flush to the ground I had no idea where the graves were.

The whole situation really pissed me off. Last night after I got home and the more I thought about it, the more irrational I was in my anger. I wanted to go back out there and camp with my grandmother, to make sure she was okay. I also wanted to do many things that are even more irrational... and illegal. Fortunately I didn't do any of them.

Here's what really pissed me off about the whole thing. They never intended to inter her yesterday. They never dug the hole. When we arrived, they said that it was too late in the day. The workers wouldn't work that late. It was 3:30 on a Monday! Then they said it was too dark. They never made any of those statements to my uncle when he offered to push back the internment. They said everything would be fine and normal. Then the manager not only was smug about the whole thing, he was absolutely unremorseful. The guy didn't give a damn that he lied and/or mislead my family about what was going to happen. He didn't care that he denied many of them closure and caused them mental and emotional trauma.

People, and those of you that might stumble upon this post, if you need to bury a loved one heed this warning. Don't purchase plots at Highland Garden of Memories in Belvedere, IL. It's at the corner of IL route 76 and Squaw Prairie Rd. If I had a choice I wouldn't use them again, but my brother is buried there and my parents also have plots there wanting to be buried with my brother. I really don't have a choice. If you do have to deal with them, make sure you are real clear on the details and expect to be lied to.

Posted by Contagion in Compay/Product Reviews. at December 4, 2007 05:22 PM | TrackBack

IL should have an oversight group, governmental, that deals with problems like this. There should also be a mortuary/funeral industry group that does the same thing. Complain to them in writing, registered. Probably won't come to much, but they have to count it, log it, and note it -- anyone checking will see it. Also do the same with the useless BBB, won't do any good but does count for numbers. If your Uncle also writes to the local papers, gets a letter to the editor published, more bad publicity. They lied to you, let them pay the price.

Posted by: Laughing Wolf at December 4, 2007 07:21 PM

I am so sorry you had to deal with this. My sympathies with your family.

Posted by: oddybobo at December 4, 2007 10:55 PM

I'm so angry for you and your family I just can't find the words.

That's just unforgivable....and I HATE that y'all had to deal with something like that..

Posted by: Tammi at December 5, 2007 07:34 AM

I am so very sorry this happened to you. It's bad enough to lose your grandmother, but then to be jerked around like this... it's terrible.

And it's so very easy for the Cemetery people to make things okay for all concerned! When my MIL passed away it was in December, cold with terrible weather going on. The cemetery came out and said immediately that the ceremonies would need to be held in the chapel on the site. (this was appropriate especially since many of those attending were older and not is such good health and getting to the graveside would have been risky).

In any case, we could see the site, grave ready, where she would be interred. They were very helpful with every detail and very respectful.

It's not always possible to have graveside services, but it is possible to do things right, with respect and dignity. *sigh*

Posted by: Teresa at December 5, 2007 10:36 AM

I am so sorry you had to deal with this.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at December 5, 2007 12:08 PM

I am sorry you and your family had to deal with this... particularly after a death of a family member. I can't imagine what I would have done if we had a problem with my dad. I am sorry.

Posted by: vw bug at December 5, 2007 02:05 PM