For the fifth time shall Rie Slashes in the years through christmas alone after the loss of her husband, the professional boxer Anders Hugger, who died at their own hands in august of 2015.

Each year, until now, she has found solace and relief for the grief in frequent visits to the cemetery in Lumby at Odense, where Anders is buried, but this year is the peace broken, and a personal tradition called off.

It has a new kirkegårdsleder catered for with his interpretation of the rules for the decoration of graves in the parish cemeteries. Rie Chop has, so far, every year in december adorned her husband’s grave in the so-called skovkirkegård with a small christmas tree, which caused a great memories, and warmed in the heart, but in the years she has been instructed to remove the tree.

It is contrary to the rules to set up a christmas tree, finds kirkegårdsleder Camilla Philipsen, who is unaffected by, that no one has ever complained about the christmas tree, and that it is inherently stands on the grave site in a limited period of time.

Philipsens message to Rie Slashes: ‘If you want to have a possession of a buryingplace, where you can ask everything there, then you had to have chosen a different burial place’.

– It is insensitive and arrogant, for who on earth thinks of decorating, when you’ve just after a death in the midst of the grief and the confusion and uncertainty?, says Rie Hugger, which calls for a bit of empathy and flair, of which there have been plenty of on the cemetery so far.

– It is a tradition for me to mark the christmas season with Anders on the way. The christmas tree indicates that he is not forgotten at christmas. It has never before been a problem.

I simply do not understand, who can feel stepped on the toes. Is it God? Jesus? I don’t believe it, and if they finally had something to suspend on christmas trees, so they beat enough down on the large christmas tree, which comes to a halt inside the church on christmas eve, says Rie Hugger.

She acknowledges that there are rules for decorating, but they say nothing about christmas trees, she observes. In turn, they say something about the color of the light, the relatives are asking on the grave sites. White light is allowed. It is red light, which is popular here in December, not.

the Red light is according to the rules not allowed in the cemetery. Kirkegårdslederen however, ‘gradbøjet the rules’ here in christmas, so the red light can be tolerated. Photo: Tim Kildeborg

– It is christmas, damn it! If you are not in a cemetery can meet a little warm-heartedness and understanding, I understand nothing. We are many who miss our loved ones, and missing is extra large for christmas, and so it helps a little to turn on the light. Also red light, says Rie Slashes:

– It is stylish and beautiful decor. It is not the case, that the grave sites look like something, Gertrud Sand from The advent Calendar has adorned.

Knocked out of the tragedy

the Shock and grief of Anders Huggers sudden death hit Rie Hews to such a degree, that her life for several years in the practice stopped. Daily she visited her husband’s grave at the cemetery, where she found peace and warmth, and how she marked holidays and anniversaries.

She told last year his story in a series of articles in Ekstra Bladet. Now she is on the way out of the darkness that surrounded her, and are creating a new life. She is no longer a daily guest in the cemetery, but still she needs to deal with his grief.

the Christmas tree at the cemetery means a lot to her, and so she takes up the fight.

– If such a small christmas tradition can help one to get it just a little bit better after having suffered so great a loss, would it not be o.k.? It should I think, says Rie Hugger.

She has sold her house in Odense, denmark and now works as a mediemanager in a company in Svendborg.

Anders Hugger in action. Photo: Ernst van Norde

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Kirkegårdsleder: – I follow just the rules

There were many who wanted to say goodbye to Anders Hugger, as the boxer was buried. Photo: Ole Frederiksen

Kirkegårdsleder Camilla Philipsen is first inclined to ‘ease the rules’, but ends up with to maintain that Rie Huggers christmas tree marring the remote skovkirkegård, where there are in total three dig.

– How some things must not stand in the skovkirkegården, for which it must be natural. It is not natural to make a christmas tree with ornaments that, says Camilla Pedersen, who took up his post in august of this year.

– I can’t do that the rules have not been complied with in the past. You are in so much grief that one has no need to ask such things, then you had to have chosen a burial place, where one is allowed to ask them.

– There is no one besides you who are unhappy, so really, there is probably no problem?

– Not in addition to that, it may not stand there. It is my job to make sure that the statutes are being adhered to, says Camilla Philipsen and emphasizes that it is not allowed to put potted plants on the grave site. Rie Huggers christmas tree stands in a pot.

– So if the tree stand on a tree stand, it is no problem anymore?

– No … but you must not put decorative objects on the grave. The christmas tree shines so very much. I can understand if she posed it up outside decorations.

– So it’s ok if the christmas tree stands on a foot and has a more discreet decoration?

– Yes, so we can better ease the rules.

– So a christmas tree at the foot with the more discreet adornment is o.k.?

– No, says Camilla Philipsen and hesitates.

– the Problem of providing a christmas tree at the foot of the grave site is, that it is destroying underbeplantningen, she says so.

– So now it’s ruined plantation, that is the problem?

– It spoils with such a christmas tree. It must be natural, and at the same time, there is a underbeplantning, who may not take the damage.

– We are talking about ivy, who is not exactly a delicate plant …

– No, I know that ivy grows well, but it does not change the fact that it will be destroyed right where the tree stands. It takes time to grow again, says Camilla Philipsen.

the President: – We must find a balance

the chairman of the parish council for Lumby and Increase Parishes, Inge-Lise Hansen, acknowledges that december can be a tough month to get through for those who have lost one of their loved ones, and that, therefore, they can find comfort through the special, personal traditions at the cemetery.

– This is definitely something we will take care of. We should probably just get talked through and worked through, says Inge-Lise Hansen.

– Whether we need to change something, I don’t know, but there is a new kirkegårdsleder to, and so we must find a balance, as we can vouch for.

– We are stretching us far for always being there for the congregation. We will do everything possible to find a good solution.

– I think immediately, you could wait until after christmas, and then we could find a solution in January, says Inge-Lise Hansen.

Rie Slashes at the famous christmas tree. Photo: Tim Kildeborg

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