Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Gruesome Story

An unusual story has appeared in the local newspaper during the last couple of weeks. While not unprecedented, it is unusual, and although it's not fumy, it is difficult to avoid making some macabre jokes. But I'll try.

It all started with a Sunday News story on January 27. The family of a man who died the previous month was having a hard time getting his death certificate and ashes from the mortuary. His obit had not appeared, so his mother had it printed at her own expense. The certificate and ashes finally turned up three weeks later.

Other similar stories turned up – loss of ashes, obits not printed, Social Security not notified, etc. In one case a family ordered one large urn and four small ones for their loved one's ashes. Finally the large urn arrived, but the small ones remained on backorder. When the family went to pick up the large urn, the funeral director waved a baggy with the remaining ashes at them, and asked if they wanted him to keep them until the other urns arrived! As the family member said, “Who wants to see their loved one in a baggie!"

But the real story appeared on February 1. Based on the complaint of a customer who was unable to obtain the ashes of his mother, police searched the funeral home and found four decomposing bodies in the basement – remains that were supposed to have been cremated, but never were. Only one body was stored in a cooling unit, two were lying on a table, and another was in a cardboard box in the basement!

Subsequent investigations into the operations of the mortuary have uncovered multiple problems. Prepaid funeral arrangement monies were not turned over to the insurance company, irregularities in paperwork to the county coroner have surfaced, numerous suppliers have filed for unpaid bills, and today the coup de grace, a bank sued on default of a business loan to the tune of $388,000.

Sounds like the director has dug himself into a hole.

Damn! I promised I wouldn't do that.
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