These flowers are the only things that mark the grave of Cathy Lang in a Mesa cemetery. That will soon change when a headstone is placed there. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Peter Lang will soon be able to place the headstone on his mother's grave, thanks to the love and generosity of family friend Melinda Canteloupe. (Source: CBS 5 News)
MESA, AZ (CBS5) -
His mother died and he didn't have enough money to pay for her headstone.
But thanks to a good friend, it's now possible for Peter Lang and his family to finally mark their mother's gravesite.
Thursday, Oct. 10, would have been Cathy Lang's 66th birthday.
She passed a year ago after a long and difficult battle with cancer.
"My mom, I actually held her hand until her last breath," Peter Lang said.
He had to make the difficult decision to take her off life support.
And that's why it has been so agonizing for him to come and visit her at Mesa cemetery, knowing there is no headstone on her grave, he said.
Other than a few flowers sprinkled in the grass, there is no marker that she is there at all.
"Every time you come out and you don't see a headstone on her grave and you see one on my sister's, it's like, 'I need to get one,'" Lang said. "I need to have one there so at least there's a marker, anything."
"I don't like to come out here without it," said Peter Lang's surviving sister, Elin Lang. "It bothers' me that it's not there."
Melinda Canteloupe is a dear family friend who didn't want another year to go by for the Langs, especially Peter Lang, weighed down by the guilt of this financial burden.
"When you offer him money, he just won't take it," Canteloupe said. "He's that kind of a person. He'll give to others and when you try to give back to him, he refuses. But today's the day. We're going to Pay It Forward for him, so I'm excited."
"With all of the expenses he had to take on, he didn't have the money for a headstone for his mom. I would love to help but I am having a hard time, as well," Canteloupe told CBS 5 News. "I would love to have Channel 5 pay it forward so that when they visit her gravesite on the anniversary of her death, it will be complete."
So, an emotional Canteloupe took the $500 CBS 5 News provided from its Pay It Forward program and visited Peter Lang.
"This is $500 for you to put towards the headstone," she said.
"Thank you, thank you," said a gracious and obviously touched Peter Lang. "Words can't describe it. It's amazing."
Peter Lang gathered himself after a hug with Canteloupe.
"When my older sister passed away, (Canteloupe) took on my older sister role. So for her to do that for me, and for my dad, who was just asking about it the other day, about putting a headstone on ...," Peter Lang said before his voice trailed off.
"This money will go toward the headstone," he said.
The $500 will nearly cover the cost of the stone that will finally allow a son, an entire family, to honor the mother they say they miss every single day.
"I know that she would be dancing around and happy that we're here celebrating her birthday and she got this awesome gift, that we got (her) something," Elin Lang said.
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