When You’re Dead, You’re Dead. Get Over it

Yes, I know I’m being callous here. I know I don’t understand the ramifications of my insensitivities. I know this family has every right to do with a body as they will, and my words have no ability to change that.

But I can’t help rolling my eyes.

I literally thought they burned his soul.

Really. It’s just his body. In fact, I bet you have thousands of photographs that you can look at. Photographs of your husband alive. Smiling. Crying. Yelling in white hot anger at the dog who just pooped on his new shoes. Laughing at something the grandkids did. Sure, you don’t get to touch the creepy dead skin, holding the hand of a lifeless pile of cells, preservation chemicals sloshing throughout the body cavities. But burned his soul? Seriously?

You didn’t get to say your last goodbye. You didn’t get to hold him again one last time. Our daughters didn’t get to, our families didn’t get to, and we were very close.

Yes you did. The last time he was alive. Saying goodbye to a dead guy is…I don’t know.

The family ended up burying Tony’s remains. His ashes were placed in a coffin, which is about a quarter mile from their family farm.

As you would have, his lifeless body. He’s in the ground now. It’s just taking up more space than it otherwise would have. Seriously, a gravestone is just a place to come pay homage to the dead, if you’re into that sort of thing. You don’t even need one grain of the ex-living to be buried there.

They want to be compensated for the mistake but said they don’t have a specific dollar figure to refer to at this point, and so far, no court dates have been set.

I can’t even. And they’ll get money too.

Hey Mayo and the funeral home: Do a better job next time. Don’t mix up the body. Apparently people care.

Update 4/5/2016 10:05 AM CST:

My bride read this and commented, proving I am a callous old codge. Her statement is actually really good:

“Yes you did. The last time he was alive. Saying goodbye to a dead guy is…I don’t know”

The last time they said goodbye was never supposed to be a permanent goodbye. Saying goodbye to the body is extremely healing because it allows you to no longer look to that body as what you have of that person but instead to the memories. When I said “goodbye” to Grandpa’s body in January it gave me a chance to memorize his face so that when I have memories of him I can picture his face smiling at me with his plaid flannel shirt on because that is the way I saw him last and I memorized that.

Saying goodbye to a dead guy can be extremely healing and helps the memories bring comfort for many.

I agree with both of us.


  1. johnson catman says

    When I was around ten years old, my paternal grandfather died. At the family viewing, the older relatives encouraged me and my cousins to touch the body. They said that otherwise, we would have bad dreams about him. Even at that age, I thought that was ridiculous (and icky!), so I would not do it. I don’t recall ever having a bad dream about my grandfather since then, and that was more than 45 years ago. Those are just superstitious beliefs about the shell that used to be a person. Since that time, I have had many relatives, friends, and acquaintances die. I still do not touch the body. I do not avoid it now because it is “icky”, but I just have no need to touch them to say my goodbyes. Different strokes and all that.

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