CITRUS HEIGHTS (CBS13) — A mother was devastated to see her son’s gravesite empty after the grounds were cleaned up last week.
“I used to come here every single day. I was with him every single day,” said Jessica Northcutt.
She lost her son 4 years ago and buried him at the Calvary Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum.
“I was 39 weeks pregnant and his heart stopped beating,” she said.
Dominic passed just one week before he was due.
“It helps knowing that he’s here,” she added as she looked over his gravestone.
But on Sunday something wasn’t there—the gates, toys, and collectibles left from over the years.
“It’s devastating, it’s devastating to come here and see that all of our stuff is gone,” she said. “He’s never had an empty grave site, we’ve always had stuff here.”
Many sites around the cemetery are also bare after a spring cleaning.
Signs were posted, but not near the children section.
“There’s stuff that’s been here since we lost him,” she said.
The belongings, however, were bagged up and set aside for families to pick up.
“The policy has always been in effect. I mean, sometimes it was enforced less vigorously,” said Kevin Eckery, with the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento.
He added the stuff was a safety concern.
“I sympathize with whatever routine it is that they had built up, but when you operate the cemetery you have to make sure that it’s open and safe for everybody,” he said.
Dominic’s birthday is in two weeks. Every year his family celebrates celebrate.
“We always come here and bring things for him and stuffed animals and roses toys gifts. We can’t leave that here now?” she said.
Now Jessica visits just once a week with her two young sons on Sundays. Time has helped heal the pain, but still, she feels this space is their space together.
“He’s my son, this is the only thing I have of him,” she pointed.
With the fear of losing anything else, she hopes his 3-foot area something she can hold onto.
“I just wanted to be like it was,” she said.
For now, the families can keep small items around the area, but rules will be enforced for larger items and removed.