It happens more often than you think, and it is devastating when it does. It seems that another funeral home mix-up has occurred, this time in Houston, Texas. According to the Houston Chronicle report, the body of Pearlie Jean Deason was buried with the late husband of another woman, Edna Lawson. To make matters worse, Lawson was apparently never buried due to the funeral home debacle. Once the Mabrie Funeral Home officials realized their error, Mrs. Deason’s body was exhumed and interred in the correct resting place. A hastily planned second funeral service was conducted for Edna Lawson who was then buried with her OWN late husband.
What was the funeral home’s reaction? An apology. Yes, that was it. They made a mistake. What’s worse is that it appears the fines for professional misconduct like this by the state regulators are minimal at best. Thankfully, both families are seeking legal remedy.
It is appalling that this kind of thing can happen and at such a difficult time emotionally. It only makes the devastation worse and causes further emotional turmoil that could take years to recover from.
The article went on to state that the families of each deceased that were impacted are seeking unspecified damages. It also appears that the funeral home did little to make the situation right on their own.
Funeral directors are entrusted with the most precious thing of all – the remains of our loved ones. It is their job to ensure that the process goes smoothly, is handled professionally, compassionately and respectfully. It appears this funeral home failed on all counts.
So how do you know if the funeral home you are dealing with is reputable?
First, use Google. While you can’t always go by the reviews that you see online you will be able to search out news, complaints, etc. You can also check with the department in your state that gives oversight to funeral homes to see what, if any, formal complaints have been filed.
Second, talk to people you know. They will tell you about their experiences. You can also ask your religious advisor or physician for a recommendation if necessary.
Third, interview the funeral home BEFORE you actually need them. Ask the owner or manager the tough questions. It is easier to be objective and to make the choice when you aren’t under emotional duress.
Most importantly listen to your “inner voice.” If it is telling you something is wrong, it may be. Common sense is often the best way to determine what is right for you and your family.