Letter to the Editor: A Request for Respectful Use of Shawsheen Cemetery

Submitted by Robyn Samuels and Karyn Girouard

As with most cemeteries, Shawsheen Cemetery is a final resting place for loved ones; and there are those of us who have lost loved ones and visit them to remember them and pray. 

Shawsheen Cemetery is a sacred area and has rules to be followed; for example, dogs are not allowed. Although the cemetery is open to the public, it is often used by residents for recreational pursuits that disturb the peace and sanctity sought by family members and other mourners. It is not to be used as a recreational area or as a dog park. We ask that you please consider using the many other outdoor resources that Bedford offers, if you are not there to appreciate the serenity the cemetery is intended to provide. 

We are fortunate in Bedford that there is no shortage of outdoor recreational space. There are over 30 miles of hiking trails, playgrounds, bike paths, walking paths, and fields – to play, walk a dog, or to socialize. Other than looking for a peaceful and serene environment to walk and perhaps sit in contemplation and enjoy the quiet, the cemetery should not be used for recreational activities. We ask that visitors to the cemetery be respectful of our loved ones and those of us that visit and mourn them. For example, dogs should not be walking on any graves and personal items on graves are not meant to be played with. 

Additionally, we strongly encourage the Town of Bedford to designate alternate parking areas for the popular Old Reservoir/Valente Land trail – parking areas that are outside of the cemetery. Using Shawsheen Cemetery as a thorough fare to the trail accesses invites unnecessary traffic to the sacred site. Removing the traffic from the heavily used trail within the cemetery will help preserve the historic cemetery as well as provide peace and serenity for us and our loved ones in the cemetery. 

On a personal note, Karyn lost her son Kyle Dietz in July 2020. He is buried at Shawsheen Cemetery. She misses him and mourns for him and all the lost years. Visiting her son in prayer brings her some peace. Please think of this when going to the cemetery, as there are other families in similar situations who too are saddened by their personal loss. Please be respectful of all. 

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The opinions expressed in Letters to the Editor are those of the writer, not The Bedford Citizen.

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loretta stacchi
April 23, 2023 9:49 am

MY husband is buried there. I visit about 2 or 3 times a week I have never been bothered by people walking around the area. They have always been respectful. I have never seen dogs walking on lease or off in that area. Some park there cars to gain entrance to the trails . Always done quickly and quietly. I have lived in Bedford for over 50 years and have never had a problem in the cemetery except may with the poor grass maintenance. Just saying.

David W Aldorisio
April 24, 2023 6:56 pm

I agree my father and friends are buried there and I have never been bothered by anyone walking or exercising in the cemetary! Everyone grieves differently and I believe that a cemetary is not just a place of grief but also a place of joy thinking about all the great times we had with the loved ones we lost! Also being a dog owner I would walk my dog through the cemetary on leash to get to the trails. I would always make sure I was out of the way of people and walked along the fence line. This was okay with the previous Chief of police because he understood there was no parking areas to get to the trails! One last point I am now living in Virginia and do not need to deal with this balony thank god I got out of Bedford after 50 plus years!!!!

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