Saturday, June 23, 2012

Funeral Home Foreclosure Threatens Final Resting Place For Dozens Of Babies, Worries Parents

In Jonesboro, Georgia, WAGA-TV Channel 5 reports:

  • Parents are concerned about the fate of a rose garden at funeral home in Jonesboro now in foreclosure. The garden contains the ashes of dozens of babies. When mother Amanda Bartlett heard that the Pope Dickson Funeral Home had gone out of business, she immediately thought of her son's ashes, which are scattered in the property's rose garden. Amanda was seven months pregnant when her son, Preston, was stillborn.

  • The hospital where she delivered, Southern Regional Medical Center, told her about the garden. "We were promised that this would always be here for us to come and it's all we have left of our babies," said Bartlett. However, the funeral home that planted the garden is now out of business. Its property has been placed in foreclosure and is up for sale. A real estate agent said that he doesn't know who will be eligible to buy the property, or if it will remain a funeral home.

  • There are more than 30 markers in the rose garden; one of them dates back to 1962. Amanda says she hopes whoever decides to buy the funeral home will also decide to keep up the rose garden.

  • "They come here and we feel so much comfort. It's like going through it all over again. My concern is that so many people are going to lose that comfort if this is taken away from us," said Bartlett.

  • Southern Regional Medical Center says it has given the rose garden as an option to their patients who've lost loved ones. Hospital spokesperson Justin D. Cooper said, "There was no financial agreement made between Pope Dixon and Southern Regional and the maintenance of the grounds was the sole responsibility of the funeral home. We extend our deepest condolences and empathize with families affected by the actions of Pope Dixon Funeral Home." The property was just listed for sale on Monday.

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