roadside memorial

A new homeowner has taken to the internet for advice after deciding they want to remove a child’s death memorial on their property. Fearing they’d become the town outsider, the owner took to an anonymous forum on Reddit to get some opinions. The initial post was brief, but the responses not only revealed an overwhelming number of fellow Redditors in support of the move but also, unexpectedly, a number of stories from people who lost family members in similar circumstances, bringing an entirely new dimension to the discussion.

The original poster explained at the top of the post, “I recently purchased a home on a country road. Five years ago, some drunk local teenagers wrapped their car around a tree on the property, and one died. Their family created a roadside memorial with a four-foot cross and a wooden sign. People come a few times a year and place notes, flowers, etc.” Then came the real reason for posting to the AITA forum: “The memorial is on my property in front of the tree they hit, about 10 feet from the road. I don’t want to see this memorial every day. It’s depressing and reminds me that a tragedy happened here, which I don’t need.”

They further explained, not getting into any personal details, “I’m trying to get over some stuff. I want this home to be a fresh, clean start. But I’m also sensitive to the kid’s family and friends. Would I be the a-hole if I asked the family to take down the memorial?” As previously mentioned, the majority of responses were supportive while also offering better alternatives than just removing the memorial. The highest-rated comment, by a mile, suggested, “Plant a hedge around it between it and your house so you don’t have to look at it. It would mess with my head, too. You’ll feel terrible if you pull it down, though.”

Another offered: “I would do a flower garden, maybe even native pollinator plants. In my area, some native flowering plants reach over 6 feet tall. So you get something beautiful, bring butterflies to the property, and it would hide the display.”

Yet another advised actually speaking with the family to arrive at a solution that would satisfy everyone: “I’d ask the family about a more landscaped type thing with their child’s favorite plant or tree planted there. They still get their memorial. It looks like it belongs, and you don’t have the reminder. They can still visit it and grieve, but it’s not an obvious spot. It’s a difficult situation, so just go about anything gently.” Then came much more personal reactions to the post. One Redditor wrote, “A parent here who lost a son in an accident. It was on a corner 1 house away from our house. He was 7. It was a bicycle van accident. He rode his bike through a stop sign. We [planted] a rose bush on the corner of our property. No one but our family knew it was a memorial, but it was special to us.”

The commenter continued, “I get it why they want a memorial where he died, but it is your property, your decision. However, I would give the family (if you know who they are) time to take anything they want. Just remove anything left. Box it up and put it in a way back corner of your yard in case they come and ask for it. Anything else left, add it to the box a day or two after it’s left. Your property your choice. If you don’t mind a small memorial, tell them that, but if you want nothing, then put up a no trespassing sign or fence if that’s possible.”

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