On what would have been my 40th wedding anniversary, I went to place a rose on my husband’s grave in a cemetery in Manchester, only to find that a decorative planter that had been there for 12 years had been stolen.

As a florist, I’ve heard this scenario several times, a scenario that happens all-too often. It doesn’t matter which cemetery — veterans, community or private — a thief is a thief and has no conscience who they steal from. How shallow and uncaring.

I am angry that a callous, self-absorbed person, obviously not Christian, would feel they could just take what they wanted from a final resting place, which should have been a haven for those left behind.

I only hope every time the thief looks at the planter, they don’t see it as a decorative planter but instead see the grave they stole it from and the poem, a favorite of Paul’s, engraved on his stone: “Deep in the garden of my heart, I found a flower that grew apart, a flower that glistened in the dew of love and friendliness for you.”

My husband passed away from cancer caused by Agent Orange. He was a veteran, fought for our country, a husband, father, brother, friend. It didn’t matter to the thief. Was the thief a man or woman? It doesn’t matter, either, a thief is still a thief, and you can’t get much lower than to steal from the dead. Because of my faith, I forgive this thief and feel sorry for them, but I don’t like them.

Arlene M. Gagnon


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