'Heartbreaking': Family wants small lighthouse taken from gravesite returned

​A small blue lighthouse — a gift from a daughter to her late father — went missing from a gravesite in Springbrook, P.E.I., and the family wants it back.

'The response and kind words from people from all over is beyond overwhelming'

Paige MacKay realized the blue light house was missing from her father's grave site Saturday evening. (Charlene Gill/Facebook)

​A small blue lighthouse — a gift from a daughter to her late father — went missing from a gravesite in Springbrook, P.E.I., and the family wants it back.

Paige MacKay, 20, realized the lighthouse was missing from the site when she drove by the cemetery Saturday evening and couldn't see the bright blue light that would normally shine from the lighthouse at night. She got out of the car to look around the site, but couldn't find it.

"We knew at that point, that somebody had most likely taken it," MacKay said. "It was super frustrating."

Charlene Gill, MacKay's mom, took to Facebook to share a photo of the gravesite before the lighthouse went missing, in the hopes that it might be returned to her daughter.

Post gets huge response

Gill's Facebook post has been shared more than 9,000 times.

She said she never imagined that it would be shared as widely as it has been.

"The response and kind words from people from all over is beyond overwhelming," Gill wrote in a Facebook message to CBC.

"We have been getting messages from people who want to send a lighthouse to replace the one that was stolen," she wrote.

She said she was saddened that someone could be so "heartless" to as to steal from a gravesite.

Special meaning

MacKay bought the lighthouse on Father's Day to place it on her father's grave.

Paige MacKay (right) is pictured with her late father Paul MacKay (left). (Submitted by Paige MacKay)

Her father, Paul MacKay, died of skin cancer two-and-a-half years ago. He was living in Alberta at the time. 

"The lighthouse has meaning for me ... it was kind of like it represented home because he lived out west for a long time," Paige MacKay said.

The family has not filed a report with police, MacKay explained.

'Just right down heartbreaking'

The family said it's not concerned about the monetary value of the lighthouse: It's about the principle of the matter, Gill explained.

"[It's] just right down heartbreaking how people can be this disrespectful and wish they could realize how much pain they bring to someone for their acts," she added.

Some people who commented on the Facebook post shared similar stories of items going missing from their loved ones' gravesites, MacKay explained.

She said she contacted the cemetery in Springbrook and was told that this was the third time in the last short while that someone had called about missing items from a grave site.

An employee of the cemetery confirmed to CBC that small items have gone missing before, but police have never been involved.

"We are ... sadden[ed] to hear how many people this has happened to," Gill wrote.

MacKay wants people to be aware

MacKay said she wants people to be aware that this is something that does happen.

​"For the person who did take it, how upsetting it really can be for the family. You know, it might not mean much to them, but I know for us it meant more than it would for them obviously," she said.

She said she hopes that the lighthouse is returned to her. She'll wait a couple of weeks, and if by then it's not returned, she'll replace the small lighthouse with a new one.


Katerina Georgieva is a multi-platform journalist with CBC Windsor. She has also worked for CBC in Toronto, Charlottetown, and Winnipeg.