If you were at the crematorium this afternoon because someone has died, I’m sorry.
If you were at the crematorium this afternoon because someone has died, and you used the conveniences only to find them in the condition above, then on behalf of the UK funeral industry, I’m not only embarrassed but I’m also deeply sorry.
There are crematoria out there who are exemplary (see here). There are also crematoria out there who seem to have forgotten the reason for their existence – to serve the needs of bereaved families by providing funeral services.
Consider the general state of affairs of certain funeral providers – buildings in terrible condition, stained carpets, poor sound systems, unusable toilets and conveyor belt timings that only allow for 20 minute services. Have you ever tried to acknowledge a life and a death in 20 minutes? Never mind telling a grieving family member that they won’t be able to talk about their loved one because there just isn’t time. And then having to tell them that the one available toilet on site isn’t actually working today.
We wouldn’t accept this in life. So why do we think it’s acceptable in death? How we treat death is ultimately how we treat life. So it matters; it matters enormously.
I personally have no interest in a life symbolised by a toilet with a lid that doesn’t stay open, a hand drier that blows out cold air and used tissues all over the floor.
As funeral professionals, can we stop accepting the unacceptable on behalf of our grieving clients. If you are a professional who uses a crematoria as part of your work – ministers, celebrants, funeral directors, florists, attendants etc – then you are responsible.
It’s the people who are out on funerals every day who can make a difference. We’re very good at driving around bereaved people in shiny cars that have been polished twenty times. But we drop them off substandard crematoria which fail to meet anyone’s needs, never mind the needs of grieving people, who have little idea of what to expect and mostly accept anything.
That’s my Friday night rant over. Enjoy your weekend everyone. I hope it looks nothing like the photos above.
P.S. The photographs above were taken at a real crematorium before a real funeral at 4pm today in the South of England. If you recognise it as your local crem, I am SO sorry that your local council thinks this is what you deserve.
P.P.S. The sticky mess on the toilet lid is an attempt to make the lid stay up when the toilet is being used. It doesn’t work.