We contacted Teresa after reading her horrifying story in the Norwich Evening News. We promised her we could get her national coverage to draw attention to the horrific situation that she’s been left in. Read Teresa’s shocking story below:
HOW I CAME FACE TO FACE WITH THE MOTHER I BURIED EIGHT YEARS AGO
Daughter’s distress over grave diggers blunder
A grave digger’s blunder meant a women who buried her mother eight years ago came face to face with her again.
The dutiful daughter was laying flowers at the grave after her father was buried in the same plot earlier this year, when she made the sickening discovery.
Sitting on the grave was a piece of jaw complete with molars that Teresa recognised as her dear mother’s teeth.
Devastated Teresa used her bare hands to part the soil and recovered more of her mother’s remains including her spine and more teeth along with pieces of smashed wood – her coffin.
Desperate to be proved wrong she took what she had found to her sister in laws. They returned together and found more bones which Teresa stored in a biscuit tin and took home for safe keeping.
She put it on the top shelf so the kids wouldn’t see it.
Her husband Rowan contacted the Church who said they’d look into what had happened. By now nobody was in any doubt that they had found the remains of Teresa’s mums skeleton.
But what on earth had happened ? The grave had looked fine at her dad’s ceremony.
The family employed a second funeral company to take charge and found out what the first funeral company had done so wrong.
Investigations revealed that when opening the grave before her father’s burial, the mini JCB used to dig the plot had smashed through her mother’s coffin, turning her remains out into the soil which had then been used to refill the plot after the burial.
The rest of the soil had been dumped in a mound at the edge of the church yard.
It meant her perfectly laid out body, dressed and buried with family trinkets that had laid to rest for eight years had been suddenly smashed to pieces.
Teresa was distraught but she couldn’t help thinking her mum had guided her to the bones. She knew her mother had wanted Teresa to found the parts so she could help put her back together.
After all she had waited a long time to be reunited with her husband Jim and now that moment had come but they still could not be together because her body had been so badly disturbed.
The bodies were both exhumed and that night Teresa collected as much as she could find of her mother to be reburied in a new coffin, as well as the parts she already had at home.
The gravediggers respectfully wore suits for the candlelight ceremony. When opening the grave they had to done white suits, forensic masks and a tent was erected.
It was like something surreal out of a horror film and in the middle of it all poor Teresa and husband Rowan, still aghast that it was really happening.
She had buried both her parents once now she was having to go through them BOTH being dug up again.
There was more bad news when they discovered her dad’s coffin was just 16 inches under the earth. That too could have surfaced with a bit of rain and bad weather. Teresa was horrified.
At 9pm that night the funeral director told Theresa he thought they had recovered as much as they could from the soil mound and the damaged grave.
As well as bones there was also all the teddies and her drier mums handbag that had been buried with her.
Teresa had kept herself together but broke down when she saw these treasured items, back from the past.
But as the new coffin was packed, in the distance church bells rang out from across the river opposite, a sign from her mother that she was grateful for what Teresa had done.
Then as the new burial took place two tiny birds danced together on the headstone – this time Teresa knew it was a sign from her mum and dad, they were at last back together again.
But despite the reburial Teresa has had to endure the horror of small parts of bone regularly turning up at the grave and in the soil mound.
Now when she visits to pay her respects she visits the soil mound to ‘talk’ to her mum because she feels drawn there.
Understandably so, because every week she removes a fresh piece of bone which she then buries herself at her mother’s plot.
At first she couldn’t understand why nobody had cleared the site, sparing her this pain. But now she’d rather they didn’t.
After all mum has been through enough indignity at the hands of strangers. After all that’s happened she’d rather handle mum herself.
Recalling the first time she spotted some bone, Teresa said:
‘It was awful. I held her jaw in my hand and knew it was her teeth because she used to grind them. I just thought: that’s the mouth I used to kiss as child’ and now here it is desecrated.’
‘I always used to remember mum as she was, now that image has been destroyed. No daughter should come face to face with their mother’s remains.’
‘When they exhumed the grave the found all the things I’d buried her with spread out in the mud, like her old handbag and soft toys. Things I never thought I’d see again after burying them with mum. It was like a living nightmare I couldn’t wake from.
Teresa’s mum Queenie died in December 2002 and was buried the same month at the picturesque country Graveyard.
Her loss had been sudden. Queenie had gone into hospital for exploratory tests and her pancreas accidentally punctured. She died a week later and the hospital made a £10,000 payout which the family used to give her the best possible send off.
Her coffin was packed with photos, trinkets and moments from her only daughter.
Widow Teresa was a regular visitor to the grave. It helped her feel close to her mum.
Her father arranged that he also be buried in the plot in the event of his death.
The following year she met and married her husband Rowan and gave birth to a baby girl. Her father was delighted for her, but his health was worsening and in May this year he passed away at home.
Immediately she set about arranging his wishes and the funeral was held the following week.
After a beautiful service Teresa had returned with her children to tend the grave several times before she noticed the object sticking out of the soil.
The exhumation and reburial was held by candlelight and Teresa took the opportunity to update her mother’s coffin with pictures from the wedding she had missed and her new granddaughter.
She also wrote a letter apologising for what had happened and promising to make it right.
‘Now when I visit the graveyard I lay flowers at the soil mound too because I think some of mum is still in there.’
At least I know most of her is back there now, but it’s hard to accept because it should never have happened.’
‘I want to remember them for the wonderful happy couple they were.’
Now Teresa is having counselling to come to terms with what happened. But she’s angry that a terrible blunder has tarnished her memory and she fears it will give her nightmares forever.