Since March of 2013, when my mother passed away and was buried out at the Rest Lawn Cemetery, our family has had to deal with the fact that unless you yourself want the gravesite where your loved one has been put to rest, you will have to do it yourself since the city of Newton is unable to make sure that the ground will be leveled out and grass will be planted and mowed when needed. Since we have had all this rain I made the mistake and went out to the cemetery, and that's when I learned and saw that all was covered with water and weeds, every gravestone was underwater, and the grounds had weeds growing everywhere.

Some of the gravesites still have mounds of dirt as if the person had just passed away, which was not the case since at least one person that I know of has been gone for some time now and the mound has weeds growing on the top. Others look like they must have just passed away but they also have been gone for some time. And since there is no grass planted on the top or there is still a mound with weeds one would think they just passed away.

I wish I would have known prior to the poor maintenance we have at this cemetery as I would have had my mom's final resting place in Marion, where she was born and raised before moving to Newton to make a home for herself, husband and children. I know that their grounds are cared for all the time, not just during Memorial Day Weekend. It makes you wonder how others would feel about the fact their loved one's final resting place is their responsibility, not the city they reside in. When you lose a loved one the last thing I am sure you would want to do is go out there and have to make sure that the ground is leveled, planted with grass seed and mowed when needed — unless like myself thought this was cared for by the individuals that took care of the grounds.

Hopefully over time when my family goes out to the cemetery at Rest Lawn the looks of the grounds have improved and are being considered a priority to our city of Newton.

— Denise Winters Arellano, Newton