Relatives of a number of people who died of COVID-19 confronted the Addolorata Cemetery’s management over the weekend after finding out that mementos they had placed on their loved ones’ graves ended up in the trash.
Three of the relatives present for this meeting told Lovin Malta that the management pledged to look into the matter and assured them it won’t happen again.
“We will wait and see how things go, but we are keeping a close eye in case it happens again,” one of them said. “We made it clear that if this happens again, we will be taking legal action.”
Controversy arose on New Year’s Eve after relatives expressed their anger and shock at finding out that cemetery cleaners had trashed mementos they had placed on their loved one’s graves, including fresh flowers, birthday cards, battery-powered candles and fresh flowers.
“We could see other people crying while searching for framed photos of their loved ones in the trash,” a woman whose father died of COVID-19 last year told Lovin Malta.
“It’s so shameful what they did to us; the person who did this should be grateful that he wasn’t present when we found out what happened.”
Over the weekend, relatives from different families met up for the first time and convened at the cemetery for an unscheduled meeting with the management.
They told Lovin Malta that the management cited a “law” which doesn’t allow mementos to be placed on government-owned ‘common graves’, which would include graves recently set up specifically for COVID-19 victims.
Lovin Malta couldn’t find a reference to this law in the three acts of legislation regulating burials and the Addolorata Cemetery and has asked the directorate regulating cemeteries for clarification.
Regardless, the cemetery’s management ultimately told them they should be allowed to place mementoes on their relatives’ graves and that they’ll inform the cleaners to stop trashing them.
This whole experience has left relatives with a bitter taste in the mouth.
“Just because our loved ones have passed doesn’t mean we should abandon them,” a relative said. “It’s bad enough we couldn’t hold their hand and be with them when they died.”