Baby’s headstone removed for being ‘too tall’ leaving grieving family ‘hurt and upset’

A grieving mother is “heartbroken” after her baby’s headstone was removed from a cemetery for being “too tall”.

Little Aiden Gupta’s headstone was removed from Thornhill Cemetery in Cardiff, because it breached height restrictions.

Aiden’s parents arranged for the headstone to be placed at his grave after he died in June, Wales Online reports.

The tot passed away after suffering from a defect in his diaphragm and fluid in his lungs since his birth in May.

His mum Pabi Tra, a hospital healthcare support worker, hardly left her son’s side as he fought for his life.

Around three months after Aiden’s death Thornhill Cemetery removed his memorial because it breached height restrictions.

The maximum height in the babies section is slightly under one foot.

The decision has “hurt and upset” the family, said Mrs Tra.

“It was not harming anyone,” the 38-year-old added.

“It doesn’t make sense. People should be able to freely order whatever they want. It’s a cemetery and everyone wants to remember in a different way.”

A Cardiff Council spokesman said there are height restrictions in the babies section “to ensure families who have little access to funds know that their baby can be commemorated in the same way as a family with unlimited funds”.

He said the council is sorry about “any upset that the Gupta family have experienced” and will “look to work with the family on plans for a permanent memorial”.

Aiden’s dad Ankit Gupta signed a burial form in June agreeing that unauthorised memorials would not be permitted.

But Mrs Tra says the family were not aware that height restrictions meant the headstone they ordered was unauthorised.

They did not want to go ahead with the options offered by the cemetery — an arc-top or heart-shaped headstone in either black or white.

Instead they ordered a dark glass one with a blue teddy bear on top.

The inscription read: “Our loving son… You stay in our hearts till eternity and beyond. You are and will remain our first son little pumpkin. Thank you for coming into our lives and making it beautiful.”

Mrs Tra had been visiting Aiden’s grave each week, sometimes two or three times. In late September she travelled to Thailand to visit her family.

Around this time the cemetery removed the memorial.

Shortly after Mrs Tra returned to Cardiff in early November, she went to the cemetery and saw the headstone was gone.

The council says the family had been informed on the day it was removed, but Mrs Tra told WalesOnline she was not aware until she visited.

“I went to the cemetery office and I was crying,” she said. “A man came out and said it did not match the rules and regulations because it was too tall.

“So many people said it was such a beautiful memorial. People who were visiting their own children would say that to me. Now when I go there it is completely empty. It says nothing about my son.”

Mrs Tra described the decision as an “insult” to her son’s grave. She said she struggled to breathe when she saw the headstone was gone. “It is breaking my heart. We are already going through so much.

“The grief will be with me all my life, but I went to Thailand to try to feel better. I saw my brother and sister, I cried with them, and I was feeling better. When I saw this it all came back again.”

The council spokesman said: “The loss of a child is always deeply tragic and we understand that the family in this case are distressed that the gravestone they chose has been removed.

“Unfortunately, in this instance there appears to have been a breakdown in communication with the family.

“Our rules and regulations on memorials in this part of the cemetery are clear and the family’s funeral directors should have explained those regulations to them at the time.

“We work with all the funeral directors in the area so they are aware of rules and regulations on memorials.”

Mrs Tra believes the cost of the family’s headstone was similar to that offered by the cemetery.

The council spokesman said: “To protect grieving families all memorials in the babies section of the cemetery have to be authorised, ordered and supplied, via our Bereavement Services team.

“This is done at cost price and individual designs are developed with a trusted supplier. These memorials cost £360 standard or £540 for a heart shape.

“However, families who have lost a child under 18 are also entitled to a £500 grant from Welsh Government which we will arrange.

“Our policy is to remove any unauthorised memorials as soon as staff become aware of them, and the family is then immediately informed.

“These memorials are then placed in safe storage until they can be collected by the family. We are sorry about any upset that the Gupta family have experienced and we will now look to work with the family on plans for a permanent memorial to their child.”

He added: “We provide a grave and burial service for free for any child under the age of 18 and we work as closely and as sensitively as possible with bereaved families on the provision of suitable memorials.”