A Danish organization for parents of deceased children has reported an uptick in the theft of toys and other tokens left by the parents at their children’s graves, according to Kristeligt Dagblad.
The organization ‘We have lost a child’ exists to support parents through their grief, but a number of its members have begun to complain about the thefts on their Facebook group. The disappearance of the toys have upset many of the grieving parents, according to one of the site's coordinators, Mariann Bechgaard.
“For many [of the parents] it feels like a violation. The grave is the last thing they have left from the child they once had, and it hurts whenever something gets stolen,” Bechgaard told Kristeligt Dagblad.
“To outsiders the items may seem like objects of little value, but they have been placed at the graves precisely because they have a huge emotional value,” she added.
Gitte Lunding, the head of the community center Assistens connected to the cemetery of the same name in Copenhagen, hopes that other adults aren't behind the grave-robbing.
“It would almost be too evil to be true. I think it first and foremost may be toddlers visiting the cemeteries with their parents or dogs that are allowed to run without a leash. It’s obviously something that needs to be addressed, but it’s likely to be difficult to entirely prevent such instances from taking place,” Lunding told the newspaper.
Bechgaard, however, remains unconvinced.
”Regardless of who is doing it, everyone should be aware that when entering a cemetery, you are entering a special place where people mourn, remember and miss, and therefore should act accordingly,” she told Kristeligt Dagblad.