New policies at Epiphany Cemetery in Coon Rapids, Minn. are leaving behind a big mess and raising concerns about a final resting place for families' loved ones.
The Church of the Epiphany said its new cemetery policy has been posted since last March, but some visitors are still being caught off guard by their personal items being removed from their loved ones graves. Back in October, the church removed all items left on graves including crosses, metal flower holders and ceramic angels. The church said mourners had a hard time navigating the snow-covered mementos, and grounds crews broke 3 snow blowers trying to prepare for winter burials.
Elisheva Carlson visits her sister's grave several times a year to feel closer to her, but the decorations that used to surround Geulah's final resting place are gone.
"It just felt like another part of her died. It was like her things. We made it part of her. To have that happen was like another loss," she said.
Relatives of those buried at the cemetery said the way the items were dumped at the expansion next door feels insensitive; the items discarded and thrown into careless piles. The cemetery now has a limit of 2 items per grave.
"I can understand from a maintenance perspective, but on the other hand, as a church, I don't think it's about a building property or land. I think it's about people," she said.
Relatives have until the end of the month to claim those removed items.
"There's no way to recover some of the things that were broken, but I think a genuine apology and genuine recognition would go a long way."