Patricia Yarvis is asking for the return of the abalone shell she placed beside her late son's gravesite.

Shell taken from White Rock gravesite

Mother asks for return of shell from late son's gravesite at Victory Memorial Park

A White Rock woman is seeking the return of a missing shell placed at her late son’s gravesite at Victory Memorial Park.

Patricia Yavis is asking for anyone who has information about the large pearlescent abalone shell to turn it into the administration desk at the graveyard.

Yavis had placed the shell, along with a burning candle and sage bundle, by the gravesite of her son, James, after his ashes had been interred on May 24.

A day later, when a friend went to go visit the site, the shell was gone, while the sage bundle and candle remained.

“It was something that was left at his gravesite, which to me is of the most significance,” Yavis said. “It couldn’t be blown away, it was a large shell and it wasn’t that windy or stormy that weekend.

“I haven’t been down to visit since the Monday after I found out. It’s just been really upsetting.”

James, who was training to become an addictions counsellor, died May 24, 2011, just shy of his 34th birthday, but his ashes were only now being put to rest, Yavis said.

While she noted the shell has no monetary value, it has great sentimental value as it is a part of the family’s history and was used for ‘smudging,’ an act of spiritual cleansing.

“It had been in the family for four generations,” she said. “We had just finished the burial for my son and I left it on his gravesite to keep a candle burning.

“It’s very sentimental, and it’s simply the fact that you just don’t take things from a gravesite.”

The site, located in the cremation garden of the cemetery, is on a hillside behind the mausoleums, making it difficult to see from the road, she said.

“I am thinking maybe someone walking through was visiting and maybe grabbed it,” she said. “I have always felt a graveyard as a place of refuge; a sanctuary immune to the vagaries of everyday urban energy.

“I am hoping it is misplaced, a misunderstanding or a moment of poor judgment.”

If anyone has information regarding the shell, Yavis is asking that they return it to the Victory Memorial Park office, located at 14831 28 Ave.


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