No parent or family friend, or family member is prepared for a child’s death. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. Even if death is expected, grief and constant reminders of loss are excruciating for the loved ones of children who have passed too soon. Unfortunately, this horrible tragedy does occur, and the parents are left with ways to honor their lost child, as is the case with Maximus Corbett-Gardener’s passing. At the young age of just four years old, Maximus “Max” Corbett-Gardener passed away from complications due to a severe case of epilepsy. Max’s mother, Jo Corbett-Weeks, grief was compounded when her son’s unique specially designed gravestone was removed without her knowledge. She is quoted as saying that her family wants a place to grieve.
Jo Corbett-Weeks saved a significant amount of money for a total of $4580 to buy a dedicated headstone for her son. The headstone features a teddy bear embracing a star, which she was able to gift to his final resting place as his 7th birthday present. The Great Malvern Cemetery in Worcestershire, where Max is placed, is also close to Max’s other family members who have passed on. During an interview with the BBC, Jo Corbett-Meeks said that it would be Max’s seventh birthday on Sunday, and this was supposed to be her son’s birthday present from her.
Three days after Max’s mother gave Max a proper tribute, she found out that the stone was removed from the cemetery. Jo Corbett-Weeks was angry to find out that her son’s specially designed and heartfelt gravestone was removed by the council chief after someone complained that it did not fit the aesthetic for the rest of the headstones in the area to the Malvern Town Council. Unfortunately, Max’s mother was not aware that the council had decided to remove the headstone from her son’s gravesite, and she found out from the stonemason that he was asked to remove it. Jo Corbett-Meeks sees no reason for its removal since the site is very well kept and not unsightly in any way. She isn’t going to stop fighting to have it removed. In an interview, she states, “The headstone meant a lot to the family and me, but now we are fighting to have it back.”The town council stands by their decision because an application was not received before the stone’s placement, and the theme of the stone is not appropriate for the adult area of the cemetery, where Max is placed. The council maintains that if Max’s stone were in the children’s cemetery area, the stone would not have been an issue. Jo Corbett-Weeks spoke sadly, “I chose a star-shaped stone because I wanted something suitable for Max – something personal…”