Skulls, femurs, jaws and ribs.
Artificial hips and knees, valves and pins, dental retainers.
This is what we saw in the big open pits overflowing with human bones in our local cemetery, "Memory Gardens".
This has been one memory I just can't shake.
Who were these people and what are their stories?
I don't suppose we will ever know.
One thing is certain, they deserved better than this.
These people donated their bodies to medical research, and ended up in the slimy hands of
Paul Parker: mortician, and creator of this atrocity.
Parker claims he was contracted to cremate and dispose of the bodies of medical donors.
On the most basic level, Parker didn't do his job.
First of all, cremation means pulverizing to dust, which he clearly did not do.
Second of all, I seriously doubt backing a dump truck into open pits not 50 feet from gravesites would be considered proper disposal.
But guess what... he just might get away with this!
Mr. Parker's wife, who wonders why we are making such a big deal over these pits, calls this abomination a "Scatter Garden".
A "Scatter Garden" is a walled-in garden where people scatter the ashes of their loved ones.
Benches, fountains, and flowers are all a part of a quiet, contemplative scenery.
"Memory Gardens" on the other hand, is an ill-kempt, overgrown and pathetic excuse for a cemetery, even without the huge pits of human bones.
Last week, we returned to "Memory Gardens" to see what Parker has been up to.
He's bull-dozed dirt over the pits, but left bones everywhere.
There's bones sticking out of the dirt, bones in the trees, bones scattered in every direction.
We searched furthur, and found additional older, open pits.
These pits never made the news.
I don't believe that it is legal to throw even household garbage away in this manner.
I sent a letter of concern to the "Arizona Funeral Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers" and was relieved to find they are as horrified as we are.
Thankfully, they are begining a criminal investigation against Parker.
On behalf of all these people who donated their bodies to science only to end up disresespected in this manner, we need to speak out in any way we we can.
We cannot let the Parkers get away with this!
Photos by Jennifer Cilch and Gretchen Baer