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Headstone heartache: Supply chain problems add to family grief

The demand for material is making it harder for grieving families to say goodbye.

SCRANTON, Pa. — Stacey Shrive is wishing for a different type of Christmas gift this year.  She lost both of her parents this year to COVID-19 complications.

"My father, during the time when my mom was in the hospital with COVID, he got COVID. And then, the next day, she went on a ventilator. Eight days later, she died," said Shrive.

Shrive and her siblings ordered a headstone with both of their parents' names on it. 

They've been waiting to properly mark their parents' gravesite for nearly a year now.

"It's been horrible. It's been crazy to think that we're waiting this long to get some closure on this part, you know what I mean, of what we've been through in the last year," Shrive. 

She bought the stone from Pesavento Monuments in Scranton. Owner John Pesavento started noticing major delays and shortages about six months ago but says right now is about the worst it's been.

"It's like a perfect storm with everything because you have the Baby Boomers coming up in age, and they're getting to the point of passing on. You have the supply chain issue, which is difficult, and it comes from different sources."

Pesavento gets the blank stones shipped from overseas. Some of the monuments, like the one for Stacey's parents, have been ready for months but are just sitting at ports waiting to get transported.

Pesavento does all of the carving and lettering for the stones in-house. But materials like stencil rolls, used during the engraving process, are also in short supply.

"I normally order like ten rolls at a time. All year they've been sending one roll, then another roll, so I've been limping through and making it. But I ordered a bigger grouping, and they say I'm not going to get that until March."

Pesavento says he does not see the problem getting better anytime soon. He predicts it will persist well into 2022.