CHICAGO (CBS) — A modern, classic movie set to play Saturday night in an open space is causing controversy because the open space is part of a cemetery. CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports the plan isn’t sitting well with a woman whose son is buried there.
“Kaya was my world. He wasn’t perfect, but he was perfect to me,” cried Leyla Durmus, whose son is buried at Memory Gardens Cemetery.
Durmus is still reeling from losing her 21-year-old son Kaya to an opioid overdose in 2016. She says she’s also reeling from what she calls a “lack of respect” when it comes to her son’s grave.
“I think it’s disgusting,” she said. “It’s very disrespectful to me as a grieving mother.”
Kaya is buried at Memory Gardens Cemetery in Arlington Heights. The cemetery is serene and tranquil, but Durmus says Saturday, that serenity will shatter if “Raiders of the Lost Arc” is played Saturday.
“There are other places where they can do it,” she said. “Why the cemetery?”
A spokesperson for Memory Gardens says the movie is meant to serve as a gathering place and foster a sense of community, adding it will be shown in an open field away from grave sites.
“It’s still in view of people’s resting places,” argued Durmus, saying it’s part of the reason she’s been fighting the issue for months – energy she says she should be spending battling the opioid crisis.
“That’s the fight I should be having. Not about a stupid movie night,” she said.
Memory Gardens Cemetery released a statement saying they’ve had a positive feedback on other areas where they’ve done community events and apologized for any misunderstanding. Durmus says she may plan a public protest Saturday.
Memory Gardens Cemetery Full Statement:
“The movie night planned at Memory Gardens Cemetery is one of many ways we support the local Arlington Heights community throughout the year. In the past when we’ve hosted similar events at other cemeteries in the Chicago area, we’ve received a very positive response from residents and built great relationships in our local community. Our intent in hosting these types of events for those with loved ones interred at our cemetery and members of the Arlington Heights community is to serve as a gathering place and to foster a sense of community among Arlington Heights residents. The movie night event is hosted in a field within the cemetery and not where graves or grave markers are present. We apologize for any misunderstanding and encourage anyone with concerns to contact us directly.”