Family struggling to bury loved one as Christmas nears
BATON ROUGE - It has been exactly one month since Alisha Decuir and her family had to say goodbye.
"It's been rough especially for my girls here because they understand. They know what death is, but they don't fully understand why she's gone so early," said Tracy Swilley, Decuir's long-term partner.
"It's been a little complicated," Her 7-year-old daughter LeLe Swilley said. “Every time I think of my mom I start to cry."
Decuir died from a rare medical condition just days before Thanksgiving, leaving behind Swilley, their 7 and 9-year-old daughters, and mounting funeral costs, more than $9000 before burial.
“My sister-in-law Tasha and I and some other relatives, got it all the way down to $1350 now,” Swilley said. “$1,500 for the grave and vault."
The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office says this type of situation is not at all uncommon. They say remains are sometimes left unclaimed due to financial constraints and result in cremations. Last year, the coroner’s office cremated 80 remains and 73 more so far this year.
With Christmas just days away, Swilley is doing everything he can to give his girls a place to visit their mother.
“I'd rather them see the process of their mother being buried instead of seeing their mother in some little box,” Swilley said.
Although it is not easy, it is still the holiday season for their two girls, and they still have plenty of memories of their mom to be thankful for.
“Everytime I think about my mom, I just smile,” 9-year-old Chardinana Swilley said. “We'll always be thankful even if we don't have a mom. We'll still be thankful."
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