Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Message to The “funeral home” folk in Oakville, Ontario, the cemetery folk in Mississauga/Oakville – and the Two “Gentlemen” that stared at us

Misty Hollow Carving
This BLOG is sponsored by “Misty Hollow Carving”. You are welcome to visit Misty Hollow and see all of my carvings.

My Web Site is a like a Gallery – please drop in for a stroll through.

To help me promote my Web Site please copy this URL address and email to someone today  

* * * * * * * *
Today’s Blog Post

A Message to The “funeral home” folk in Oakville, Ontario, the cemetery folk in Mississauga/Oakville – and the Two “Gentlemen” that stared at us

I am not sure where to begin this piece. Maybe I should just get to what has really bugged me for a long time… or maybe I should just point at the “two boneheads” that I watched yesterday. “Boneheads” is a mild term… there are other words that might better describe them… but I can’t use those words anymore… at least shouldn’t.

“Boneheads” is strong but compared to what they offered – it is mild.

I wanted to scream – “Back off you Boneheads!” Or I wanted to walk over to the men in charge and ask them kindly to get the Boneheads to walk away – make like they are not there.

Now to be careful I will switch to using the word “Gentlemen” for all that will read… especially the more sensitive ones of my audience that will already be freaking out with me even typing the other word!

In this particular situation I might have been able to get away with it… but if it was in our area, Peterborough in particular, I wouldn’t or couldn’t say anything. (I would get screwed by the local Cemetery company if I ever wanted to use the service again.) But it didn’t happen here… it was in Oakville, Ontario where these two “Gentlemen” showed their ability.

The setting…
My friend had passed away last week. Yesterday we travelled to Oakville for the service. It was wonderful! Everyone that took part did a wonderful job to honour him and to support his wife along with their kids. It was one of the best funerals that we have attended for a long time.

The graveside service followed the Family Reception with their friends. It was quite a distance to the Cemetery, so it was decided to have the reception first then complete the day with the graveside service.

Now I know my friend that died didn’t get flustered in situations like I do. I think that was one of his examples for me. For that reason it may be why I felt even more flustered, or frustrated by what happened – he was gone now!

I am sure now that you are ready to hear what took place. Right?

It was about 3:00 PM by the time we were able to get to the graveside. We were planning to leave the church by 1:00 pm for the 45 minute drive to the cemetery. That didn’t happen and instead with all the talk we left by about 2:00 PM.

Looking back now – that may be the reason for the “Boneheads” to react the way that they did. We messed up their coffee breaks by getting there at the WRONG TIME. Or maybe we just messed up their whole day by planning a funeral burial on a Friday afternoon! Or maybe still the “Boneheads” were just that – Boneheads! – Ooops – sorry that is “Gentlemen”.

The vehicles all pulled up to the graveside area… the cement vault was in place over the grave ready to receive the coffin. Behind it was the huge pile of dirt that had been extracted from the ground as the grave was dug. This huge pile indicated that there was likely enough to allow the Coffin to be the deepest in the grave, then later when his wife passes away, there will be room on top for her to rest with her husband. It is generally known as “Double Deep”.

Picture this… the vehicles were parked on the south side of the cemetery drive through. The grave was just south of the drive. The pile of dirt is on the south side of the grave. As they carried the casket to the grave top, the family gathered in close to the side of the coffin which is now just a few feet south of their feet. The officiating pastor then stood between the casket and the family to say the final words.

In normal situations the family is about to say goodbye to their loved one for the very last time. They are under a huge strain emotionally. Everything is about to end for good. Nothing makes this part easier – ever.

The pastor usually reads a few words of scripture. Then he will say a few more words and finally close in prayer. That is the normal Christian Funeral procedure.

As we stood there you could not help but notice the two “Boneheads” that were standing there staring at the family… just on the other side of the pile of dirt and to my right.

One of the Boneheads, a young lad, was dressed in his very large blue jeans, with his green T-Shirt… and work gloves. This was one heavy dude.

The second Bonehead, the older one, was dressed in his coveralls that were covered with dirt from heavy work. His sun glasses kept his eyes protected from all of us.

The younger one stood leaning on a stick he had in his hands. Very casual about it, as he stood staring at us on the other side of the pile of dirt. Ho hum! How boring.

The older one stood staring at us, like, “Hurry up you bunch of idiots, we need to fill the bloody hole and go home. Get your body in the ground and go home – you have inconvenienced me royally!”

After the pastor finished praying he told the Family that they could stay for a few minutes. It is very common to encourage the family to linger just a little more.

The two Boneheads stood and stared at us. If their looks were bullets we would be dead!

Regarding funerals and staff at the cemetery, they usually make themselves disappear until the service is over. This time blatantly it never happened.

The family left and my wife and I stayed on to talk to some that we had not seen for years. The closing took place with us standing there. No problem with me. Go for it.

The casket and vault had to be moved off the straps and the top of the grave. The back hoe went down again and again digging more dirt out with a half full shovel of water each time.

Ah ha! They had a problem. Maybe they were worried about a cave in with all of us standing there… these Boneheads were our saviours. Oh Wow! I never knew. Or maybe – they never got the information to dig the hole until too late to dig it deep enough!

(BTW – I have had two funerals in Peterborough where the communication was so bad at the graveyard the “Gentlemen” didn’t even dig the hole. No one knew we were coming! So leaving the body alone on the side of the road is kind of un-cool. I have seen it all!)

I have no idea of what was going on. But it was not good.

I tried to speak with the lady that was dressed in the dark suit that was standing beside me. I am pretty sure that she was the Cemetery Sales Rep that worked as an intermediate between Boneheads (Gentlemen) and Funeral Home people. That minimal talk ended with her asking me, “How long have you known the deceased.” I answered and that conversation was over.

Now I know that I have been way too hard on the “Gentlemen” in their working duds. I need to almost apologize to them for expecting too much.

Here is my suggestion for the Funeral home folk…
- We need to know of the potential problem at the Graveyard with the staff. How hard nosed are they going to be on a Friday? Maybe we can arrange for deaths to take place some other time?
- If there is a continuing problem, let the customer know so we can find an alternative. Cheap prices for cemetery fees are not worth having Boneheads glare at you.
- If the Boneheads are acting this disrespectful, walk over casually to them and ask them to leave the area for this very small part of time. Grief is real and doesn’t need Boneheads to make it worse.
- You know already, right after grief often comes anger. Some day one of us grieving family members are going to walk over and pop one of the Boneheads because we can’t stand the looks that they are giving us! My wife almost did that – believe me!

Here is my suggestion for the Cemetery people…
- If you are having issues with staff, let the pastor know, let the family know.
- If you know what the issues are ahead of time, come to one of us as ministers and explain that we need to leave the sight fairly quickly. We can help.
- If you want further business, and it is all about business, work with us – OR WE WILL NOT COME BACK!
- Empty graveyards are not something you folk are looking for in these days… but have this happen even once… and some “IDIOT” like me will tell the world on some stupid BLOG somewhere. At this point over 53,300 have read the pages so far.

Here is my suggestion for the potential Contractors that dig holes for people to put their dead people in…
- We may be slow and we may stand way too long for your liking.. but we are grieving and it takes time. Let us grieve… we will be gone before you know it.
- Try somehow to put yourself in the shoes of the person that just lost their dad… “How would you feel – if it was your dad… and some Bonehead stood staring you down? Would you like to drop him?”
- Sure, sure these stupid folks told you they would be there by 2:00 PM… yah you’re right again… can’t trust anyone with their stupid promises.
- Get another job… leave this lucrative job of digging holes for dead people. Get a real job digging up full cesspool tanks… muck around in the real world where you can control your time and don’t have to deal with these “idiots” any more.
- You have lost you compassion for which I am very sorry. Somehow I hope that you find it some where. The way you looked at us revealed the very soul of a person that needs help. Go find it some where.
- Finally, if Friday afternoons are a real problem for you to help anyone, book off sick on Thursday night – then we can get some one that will care.

For the family I am very sorry that you had to be stared at that way. It was hard enough saying goodbye to husband dad, without the help or lack of it from these “Gentlemen”.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Special Note: I have not mentioned the names of the Businesses involved but have sent them a personal note to present the suggestions I have made.

No comments: