‘I feel like I’m about to lose her again’: Mother fights city to prevent changes to cemetery

Mother's fight to decorate daughter's grave

NOTTOWAY CO., Va. (WWBT) - Sibyl Driver sees her daughter everyday, but not in a way like most parents.

“This is the place where I come just to be close to her,” Driver said.

Her daughter, Janet Driver, 17, was killed in an ATV accident in 2017.

“Sometimes I’m out here one, two, three, four times a day,” Driver said.

Sibyl hasn’t missed a day with her best friend.

“This is something I don’t want no mother to ever have to live with,” Driver said.

It’s no ordinary grave in the Sunset Hill Cemetery in Burkeville. There are turtles, pictures and other memories decorating Janet’s final resting place. Sibyl even cuts the grass and cleans up around her family plot.

“Wish I didn’t have to come out here and decorate it but it’s the only way I get by,” Driver said.

Now her way of coping is being threatened.

“I lost her two and a half years ago and now it feels like I’m about to lose her all over again,” Driver said.

Tuesday, the Burkeville City Council was set to meet and vote on changes in the rules and regulations at the cemetery. Preventing families from adding decorations.

“Should no parent have to beg to put something on a child’s grave,” Driver said.

Sibyl says there was an incident where she feels a county official disrespected her grave. Also, an alleged anonymous letter was placed complaining of the decorations.

“For her grave to be called junk, I don’t feel like anything on her grave is junk,” Driver said.

The following outlines the new proposed rules:

In them, decorations would only be allowed on holidays and must be removed within seven days. Nothing else is permitted on or around graves unless in a bronze vase or a saddle on top of the monument.

“You can’t tell somebody how to grieve. Everybody grieves differently. This is how I get through it,” Driver said.

It’s not just a place for the mom.

“Remember when you were Elsa and your sissy dressed up like Olaf,” Driver said to her young daughter.

It’s also a place where Janet’s 4-year-old sister can come and reminisce.

“Mommy I want to keep the stuff on her grave,” the young girl cried.

It’s all in jeopardy with just a simple vote.

“I just loss my daughter, please don’t let me lose my spot to give her stuff. This is the only way I can still buy for her and do for her. All I ask, if you please, let me continue to do that,” Driver said.

The city’s mayor wouldn’t comment further other than saying the topic is on the agenda for Tuesday.

Driver says if this is passed, she will look into moving her daughters body to a place where she can memorialize her the ways she wants.

Tuesday night, the city council tabled the vote on the rule change and said they would create a cemetery committee to look at the rules and regulations and present them to council. There is no word on when the committee will bring it before council.

Driver said about 50 people attended the meeting.

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