LANCASTER — Bill and Patricia Kahler were married for about 54 years.
Patricia died in March 2016. She is buried at Joshua Memorial Park and Mortuary, where Kahler visits her gravesite every day.
“After 50 years of your life, you know, it’s pretty hard to let go,” Kahler said during a recent visit.
In the three years since Bill buried Patricia the grass near her grave turned from a lush carpet of green to a yellowed blanket of grass with patches of dirt and weeds.
“I remember when they built it,” Kahler said of the cemetery.
Kahler’s Lancaster family roots go back to the 1850s. His parents are also buried in another part of Joshua Memorial Park.
The 40-acre cemetery opened in 1959. It has numerous mature trees. But some of the trees appear to be dead or dying. Other parts of the cemetery grounds are mostly dirt.
“It was nice at one time. When we bought it it was beautiful,” Kahler said.
To add to the family’s grief, Patricia’s double headstone, which includes a future spot for Kahler, appears to have been damaged by the water trucks used to water the grass.
Kim Bright, Kahler’s daughter, shared before and after pictures of the headstone including one that appears to have tire tracks on it. The engraved lettering is worn, particularly on Patricia’s side.
The family purchased the headstone through Joshua Memorial Park/Dignity Memorial.
“We surely thought it was last for a lot longer than three years,” Bright said in a text message.
Kahler has on occasion visited his wife’s grave twice in the same day.
“I made a promise to her that I’d watch over her no matter what happens,” Kahler said.
Kahler and his daughter want to see the cemetery restored to its former beauty.
Service Corporation International, the company that owns Dignity Memorial, which operates Joshua Memorial Park, is working on it, a spokesperson said.
“Joshua Memorial Park is in the process of drilling a new well because the property’s former well ran dry last year. We are temporarily watering the grounds by means of a water truck and are fully committed to restoring the park to its healthy and green state. We will replant trees and vegetation as soon as the new water source is operational,” Kristen Bennett, a spokesperson for Dignity Memorial said via email when contacted by the Antelope Valley Press.