Family forced to dig grave for funeral

The family says they just want to shield others from the same pain

Photo Courtesy: CNN

(CNN) – A family in Kentucky was shocked when they came to bid a final goodbye to a family member who died of cancer. A cemetery in Lexington had not finished digging her gravesite yet, so the family members had to do it themselves.

Athens is a small community in Lexington. In-between two churches sits Athens-Boones Creek Cemetery, where a local family had plans to lay Krystina Gilbert to rest Thursday afternoon.

Heidi Lawson, Gilbert’s sister, said, “Krystina never once complained about her illness. She never got mad. She laughed. She had a laugh that all of her friends kept saying yesterday, Krystina had an infectious laugh.”

The 33-year-old had brain cancer. She’d battled it for years, and when her fight ended, family wanted her buried near other loved ones.

“It was terrible to sit and watch your sister’s coffin sitting there and your family burying her. It’s not right,” said Lawson.

Krystina’s sister drove back to Athens Boones creek Friday to see what her sister’s grave looked like. It’s a mess — there’s dirt everywhere, shovels still sitting nearby. This after Krystina’s husband and other family members picked up shovels and finished digging her grave because it wasn’t done when they got there for the graveside service.

Paul gilbert, Krystina’s husband, said, “I mean, so many emotions are going through me. I wanted to cry one minute. I didn’t know how to act.”

Jerry Williams, cemetery manager, said, “I mean, we hire the people to do the work and they’re supposed to do it, and if they don’t then we just have to deal with it.” Jerry Williams says a board that oversees the cemetery is working to make a new hire. According to a state registry, he’s on that board.

The family says they’re not looking for reimbursement. They just want to shield others from the same pain.

Lawson said, “We just don’t want anybody else to go through this.”

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