UPDATE, May 8, 2019: This article has been updated to reflect interview comments from Nicole Gillogly.
Nicole Gillogly, from the Sunshine Coast in Australia, was 30 weeks pregnant with her only daughter when tragedy struck in December of 2015.
Nicole’s sons found their mother unconscious in her bedroom and she was taken to the hospital. She remained in a coma for eight days, and doctors determined they needed to deliver her baby.
Sadly, baby Indianna Gillogly was delivered stillborn.
“She saved my life actually,” Nicole told 7News Australia. “But I wouldn’t want to wish it on anybody.”
Indianna’s grieving parents had the heartbreaking task of arranging a burial for their tiny daughter. They put great thought and care into Indianna’s resting place, deciding to turn her gravesite into a fairy garden, including petite statues of ladybugs, fairies and artificial flowers.
The Gilloglys would always carry the pain of Indi’s death with them, but in December of 2018, three years after their daughter’s death, items began to disappear from the gravesite.
The first item taken was very sentimental to the family: a sports jersey that belonged to Indianna’s father, Chris.
“He (Chris) wanted Indianna to have his jersey. It has 22 on it, which is the day she was born,” Nicole told 7News Australia.
After the first gut-punching theft, another disappearance happened after Christmas.
Besides the jersey, Gillogly told Liftable “3 lady beetles, 2 unicorns, a pink pearl solar light, 3 artificial gerberas, 2 fairies, a white ceramic pot with a ginger flower and a wisdom rock” we also stolen.
“The wisdom rock really upset my husband. Our son purchased it 10 years ago at a Fathers Day stall. It had 3 little monkeys sitting on top, my husband kept it on the dash of his ute and said it was our 3 boys. When we lost Indianna he wanted her to have it. It’s worth $5, so it’s not the value, it’s what it meant to him.”
The Gilloglys were dismayed to find that the majority of Indi’s fairy garden items had been removed, with a few remaining items rearranged — suggesting that someone had intentionally violated baby Indianna’s gravesite.
“We didn’t remove anything, and I contacted the council and she assured me they wouldn’t touch anyone’s grave,” Gillogly told Liftable, a section of The Western Journal. “Months later the little boy buried next to Indianna had 2 things stolen.”
Heartbroken and furious, Nicole took to Facebook to share what had happened at Indianna’s gravesite.
“The thieves have ‘visited’ my daughters grave AGAIN! This time stolen a lot more!” she wrote. “Stealing from my daughters grave IS NOT OK!”
Her post reached a local couple who knew right away that they had the heart and the resources to try and help.
Rod Fletcher and his wife Cheryl run a business called Rocks of Remembrance, based out of Sunshine Coast in the same hometown as the Gillogly family.
Upset over the family’s loss, the couple reached out to Nicole with a selfless, loving offer to create and donate a permanent headstone for Indianna.
Fletcher told Liftable they hear a lot of stories of theft and destruction to peoples graves and memorials.
“So when we saw her post and that her little trinkets went missing,” said Fletcher, “we thought we do one-off unique hand sculpt products, we do amazing fairies and many different baby sculptures, so we thought let’s do this for this grieving family.”
“It took around 4 weeks from start to finish. We start by mixing our specially formulated concrete and pouring onto our workbench, we then lay in our reinforcing steel, then we begin to hand sculpt this piece.”
On the center of the headstone was an image of Indianna’s tiny feet being held by her parents’ hands.
Nicole was stunned by the beautiful, handmade memorial in her daughter’s honor, and she especially loved the tiny fairy.
“I was lost for words, I cried and was covered in goosebumps,” she told Liftable. “I couldn’t believe a complete stranger could be so generous.”
“Nicole popped in a couple of times to view the various stages of colouring the headstone and our plaque image fitting,” added Flecther. “Her reaction was over happy and tears of overwhelmed.”
After the trauma the Gillogly family had been through, the heartwarming gesture has been a big encouragement to the grieving family.
Since sharing photos of the Indianna’s new headstone, Fletcher told Liftable the response has been overwhelming. Adding that people were saying “we have brought faith back to humankind this has been our biggest and most repeated comments. For me, it has made me happy that we have turned this NEGATIVE situation into a big POSITIVE.”
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