In business, it’s important to get it right the first time because an unsatisfied customer may not return. However, although some mess-ups are infinitely worse than others, some “customers” have no choice but to lie down and take it.
Whenever family discussions turn to the inevitable, stories about funerals are many. I remember one comment made by a family member regarding how some deceased people look after they’ve been made ready for viewing.
Making a comparison between the two local businesses that specialize in burials, my relative remarked that she would only be using a particular one, because use of the other establishment resulted in the dead person looking, well, dead.
I laughed at first, but I knew exactly what she meant. Sure you know your loved one is dead, but seeing for yourself is something else. I’ve heard stories where some make-up jobs are so bad that the person ends up looking several shades lighter in death than they ever were in life. Or sometimes the features look a little different from what you’ve grown accustomed to – a sharper nose here, a bigger forehead there.
Given the fact that most people don’t say, “Hey I recognize her because of that mole on her finger or the tattoo on her backside” (I couldn’t resist), it stands to reason that a lot of attention is paid to the face when getting someone ready for a viewing.
During my first year in college, one of my classmates had a fatal accident. I wasn’t close to her but her girlfriends made sure to visit the funeral home to do her make-up. I’m not sure how they actually got through the task, but I knew that they probably would have been happy if someone made the comment that she looked like she was sleeping.
But there’s looking a little different from how you looked in life and then there’s not looking like yourself at all, which is what I thought when I read this story about a man who was informed by a funeral home that they had interred the wrong body – days after he had attended the funeral of his mother.
Although he had questioned, prior to the funeral whether it was actually his mother because he didn’t think it looked like her, he was informed that the funeral home didn’t make those types of mistakes.
I’m going to assume that not enough people who knew her viewed the body and that the funeral home never got a picture (as is customary) to see how she looked when she was alive, because how else could a strange woman end up on top of this man’s father in their family plot?
Unfortunately for the man, he will have to say another goodbye. I don’t know whether he will decide to recall the soloist, the preacher and the choir for the second go-round. Because that may elicit a fresh set of tears – and I don’t mean just for the dearly departed.