Grieving mother, Jo Corbett-Weeks has been forced to relive her tragic loss after the gravestone she had built for her son’s grave was removed by town officials.
Weeks experienced every parent’s worst nightmare several years ago when she lost her little boy, Max. Max was only 4-years-old when he died from complications relating to his severe epilepsy.
For nearly three years, Weeks scraped together the money to pay for her son’s specially made headstone of a teddy bear holding a star. On the headstone was a touching tribute to Max.
You are our star in heaven
Lighting up the sky at night
We see your star all twinkling
It is such a lovely sight
This star has been especially made
To help keep you close to us
Because we love and miss you
Our darling Maximus
“It would have been Max’s seventh birthday on the Sunday, and this was like a birthday present to him from me,” Weeks told reporters. “I chose a star-shaped stone because I wanted something suitable for Max – something personal. This stone is just so perfect for my poor little chap.”
However, because of one person’s complaint about Max’s headstone, the council took action to remove it. The family who complained said that the headstone’s shape was offensive and not “in keeping” with the rest of the cemetery.
Without her consent or even her knowledge, the council removed her son’s beautiful tribute.
“I was totally unaware this was going on. The council did not contact me and it was the stonemason who told me he’d been ordered to remove it,” Corbett-Weeks explained. “I feel upset, distressed and angry. We have been through so much as a family. I could understand if the grave was uncared for or unsightly, but it isn’t.
“The headstone meant a lot to me and the family but now we are fighting to have it put back,” she said. “It’s a horrible situation. We just want to have somewhere to grieve.”
“We have a conformity of shapes in our lawn cemetery. We were contacted by people who objected to the shape,” a Malvern Town Council spokesman explained to reporters. “The longer it stayed up, the harder the process would have been.”
“It was a very difficult decision to remove it but one we had to make straight away,” the spokesman said.
After officials had removed the headstone, Weeks pleaded with council members in an exchange of letters. She asked her local official, Harriet Baldwin reach out to council member Linda Blake. However, the callous nature of the state rang through in their response.
In life, and as this case illustrates, in death, the state mandates your conformity. Attempt to work outside of the imposed societal constraints and the government will inexorably snub you out — dead or alive.
Weeks started a petition to ‘Reinstate Maxi’s Memorial.’ As of Tuesday morning, it only needs 4,500 more signatures.