Up a rut ridden, winding road, in northwest Bellevue, there is a seemingly forgotten place. It is an overgrown cemetery. Some of you know of it. Some of you may have even ventured there. Some, may have even stumbled across it by accident.
Whatever the case may be, if you have seen it, you know what kind of place it is.
At first glance, it seems to be totally frozen in time.
With it's overgrown grass and downed trees, it seems to be abandoned. Fragments of headstones line some of the, not so straight anymore, rows. The back rock wall is lined with trees. Mostly growing wildly in every direction. Some of them have fallen over, only to hide the grave markers beneath them.
Just about every year, this tiny forgotten place floods. In many places the graves themselves have sunk and left gaping holes in the ground. You have to be careful where you walk, or you could easily find yourself in a prone position.
The markers date back until the early 20th century. Many are obviously from a time when sickness and certain mortality have occurred. They share the same year as the date of death. Many others date from 1902 - 1936. They seem to be of such a long time ago. It seems such a sad place.
If one looks beyond the fallen trees, knee high grasses, weeds and sunken graves, one starts to notice that this place is not quite as it seemed at first. Spread out, here and there, are more recent plots. Family members and generations of the same family, buried side-by-side.
Among these graves, scattered within those tall grasses, is evidence of life. A few flowers, and other tokens of love, are placed quite deliberately at certain markers. People have been here. Some not in the too long ago past. When you take a closer look, you can tell that these visitors have taken the time to rip out the grasses and weeds from their loved one's grave sites.
You can imagine them coming to pay their respects, or reconnect with long gone family. Coming to just sit and meditate on the life that once was. It really is a peaceful place.
Too bad that is seems so forgotten.
On the campaign trail, I was out door-knocking one afternoon. I was talking to the people about the issues. Many, that I talked to, seemed to have the same complaints or concerns. Then I came across a woman who had an unusual issue. She felt that maybe it wasn't important enough to mention. I told her that there were no small issues. If it was important to her, then it was something that I would address.
She told me of this cemetery. I knew of it, I had been there before. She told me that she had several family members buried there, against the back wall. She said that every year she and her sister would go out to pick the weeds, clean up what they could and plant some flowers. What upset her was the dilapidated state of the whole site. She told me, that on several occasions, the trees on the back wall had fallen over and onto some of the grave sites. They tried to move them, but the trees were too large and heavy.
This lady then told me that she called the municipality to tell them about this. It took several phone calls before she was given any kind of answer. Finally someone from the Municipality went out to check. They called her back and told her that to remove the downed trees from the site, it was gong to cost her at least $750.00. She is on the Old Age Security Pension and has a disability. She told them that she could not afford that kind of cost. Instead they went back out and chopped off a branch and charged her $150.00.
What I want to know is: why?? What kind of place do we live in, that would allow this kind of thing to happen in the first place?? Do we not have more respect for the dead. Do we not care about our deceased friends and relatives?
Yes, sure they are gone. But why do they need to be forgotten in such a way??
Do we not have some volunteers who could come out once or twice a year, to check this place and clean it up a bit? Cut the grass, remove the fallen trees, fill in the sunken plots and try to replace the pieces of our past that have been scattered??
It is a very sad thing, to think that the Municipality wanted to charge this lady for what should be a service to this community.
Are we going to sit idly by and do nothing??
When did we quit caring. Is it out-of-sight, out-of-mind???
Well, I for one, care. I told her so.
I made only one campaign promise during this election.
That promise was to this lady. I promised her that I would do something to see that this spot was not forgotten. That I would see if I could get people to care enough, to come out and right the wrongs that have been done to this place. I told her that I was sure that the people of the Crowsnest Pass cared enough, that once they heard of her story, and the plight of this beautiful but neglected location, they would come out and try to do the right thing.
Anyone, everyone, someone.....
Please contact me. Call me. Email me. Message me on here or on Facebook. Let's make a plan. Let's get together and do something. We can do it as a group, individually, or as a community. We can make a difference.
It's just not for this lady, but for everyone. It's for the past friends and loved one's who have been buried there. It's for the future friends and relatives who might one day be placed there. It is for ourselves, our family's and our community. We should remember the past. We need to remember all those who went on before us. They are our legacy, our history and our heritage. Our children are losing this sense of who we are. Let's stop that, before they don't even know who the great pioneers are, who made this place, so that we could call it our home.
So pick up the phone, or use your computer. Contact me.
Let's make a day of it. It'll go faster if we do it as a team!! Volunteer a bit of your time, your day or your expertise. I am waiting to hear from you. I can't do it all alone.
Help me make that promise happen.