Making A Living Out Of Dying

26 May

A week ago, my co-worker H lost her father. He had been sick with cancer for a long time, and seeing him go through so much pain had taken its toll on H and her family. His death, as one would expect, hit the family hard. I know perfectly well what it’s like, having been through this with my own Dad several years ago.

As if losing her father was not a huge enough thing to begin with, H has been dealing with the funeral home making it abundantly clear that him dying right before a long weekend was inconvenient to them. They didn’t come right out and say that, of course (that would have been insensitive – note the dripping sarcasm). No, they just showed the sentiment through their actions and their stonewalling.

H’s father was cremated in accordance with his wishes. Sounds easy enough, no? No. Because of that pesky long weekend, the funeral home couldn’t arrange the cremation until five days after the deceased passed away. Which, OK, I can kind get because lots of people aren’t around for long weekends. Just don’t be narky about it to the grieving family.

In the meantime, the cemetery have a policy whereby they refuse to begin preparing the plot until the ashes are in their possession. Again, OK. You don’t want a hole in the ground – even a little one that will contain an urn – and then be faced with delays.

The crematorium had promised the family that they would have the ashes on Tuesday evening. The plan was to get the ashes to the cemetery, who for reasons known only to them need two full days to dig a little hole for an urn, and then have the funeral on Friday.

Despite H making repeated phonecalls to a bunch of people, the funeral home only told H this morning that they had received the ashes from the crematorium. Which meant that the cemetery did not have the ashes. Which meant that they were not willing to dig that little hole in time for a funeral on Friday.

Which means that this grieving family have not only been waiting to say goodbye to their loved one, they have been getting royally jerked around while they’ve been waiting.

To add insult to injury, the funeral home admitted that they received the ashes yesterday morning and didn’t bother to tell the family. If they had, the funeral could have happened on Friday as planned.

While this has all been going on, the funeral home guy has been – to put it mildly – a condescending, arrogant, insensitive jackass.

I feel very angry on behalf of H and her family. I think it is disgusting that a grieving family can be treated this callously at such a sad time in their lives.

If you’re going to be in the business of death, at least be kind and sensitive, and mindful of the fact that your clients are vulnerable and grieving.

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2 Responses to “Making A Living Out Of Dying”

  1. Karyn @ kloppenmum May 26, 2011 at 11:16 PM #

    Absolutely. Ghastly, ghastly experience for H and her family.

  2. midwestliving May 27, 2011 at 7:40 AM #

    Unbelievable!

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