Charles Cowling

Scream

 

22 Jan is reckoned the worst, most depressing day of the year. This week is as bad as it gets. Nodding in agreement? Reasons to be cheerless, according to Dr Cliff Arnall of Cardiff university are: weather, debt, time since Christmas, time since failing new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and the feeling of a need to take action.

Here at the GFG-Batesville Shard we max out on Nordic gloom in January. We use the gloom to inform realistic appraisal. We’ve been brooding about not going forwards, just round and round in circles, blogging about the same old same old time and time again, not getting anywhere or being useful. Is it time to do a Hayley and call it a day? It may be. It was fun while it lasted. How liberating to be free of it.

Out this week: the annual CDAS report on the cost of funerals. Various radio stations rang. I looked for a new angle but found there none. I did the same interviews I’ve done time and time over. Same old same old.

And then there was the Hayley thing on Corrie. I didn’t follow the build-up to the suicide so I can’t judge its usefulness in making people aware of the issues and stimulating debate. But I did watch last night’s episode where Hayley’s body was taken away by the men in black macs. It was probably the most depressing thing to happen in this week in January ever. The researchers hadn’t done their job. The doctor’s paperwork was wrong. Roy didn’t want to let Hayley go. We weren’t told that he had a choice, that he had a legal right to care for her body at home. We weren’t made aware that there are undertakers who would have helped him do that. The ‘private ambulance’ (possibly the vilest euphemism in the English language) was summoned because “it’s what ‘appens.” Reduced to helpless bystander, Roy stood aside as the wordless corpse-collectors (well cast) carried off the love of his life. He wasn’t even invited to help. It was possibly the worst home removal in the history of undertaking.

Here was an opportunity to empower viewers. All it did was reinforce the dependency culture together with every negative feeling anyone has ever entertained concerning the dismal trade. The funeral will be led by a humanist. Let’s hope something good will come of that.

Happy January, everybody.

PS This is the GFG document about legal rights, downloadable from the website. If you spot any errors or omissions, do please let us know. Your legal rights and responsibilities.

 

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James LeedamLucyCharles CowlingTeresa EvansJennifer Uzzell Recent comment authors

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Lucy
Guest

I love the GFG website. I contains so much information that I just couldn’t handle on my own. In fact, but the end of the week, there will be a link on my website to this. I think what has been lost (or maybe a better word is hidden) in the funeral industry is honesty and as a profession, we should really embrace it. For so long the general public didn’t want to know how a funeral director collected a deceased from the hospital. They didn’t want to know what “hygienic preparation or care of the deceased” actually meant and… Read more »

Jennifer Uzzell
Guest

Not to add to the gloom, but what I have seen, to date, of said Humanist Celebrant is not filling me with warm fuzzy feelings!

Andrew Hickson (Kingfisher Funerals)
Guest

As funeral professionals / people in the know we’re bound to be critical of something like this aren’t we? I’m sure paramedics and nurses watch Casualty with the same disdain.

But outside our own sphere, do we really notice? Sure, there will be the occasional person who will pick up on something, but as a percentage of viewers, that must be extremely low.

That’s not to say it shouldn’t be right, and that the programme makers shouldn’t do their research. But as always it’s subjective. What’s right for one is completely wrong for another.

Surely that’s something we all need to remember?

Evelyn
Guest

Morning all! Oh, hold on GFG, it IS changing – and it’s changing because the likes of the GFG and the NDC and Nick and Teresa and Poppy and dozens of others are busy changing it. Because you haven’t let go, and have persisted like a worrisome terrier – telling and retelling and informing people over and over and over – and it needs to be over and over and over because we forget, because we don’t know we need to know, because until someone close to us dies we won’t remember or realize what we need/want/ought to do, because… Read more »

Teresa Evans
Guest

Evelyn, thank you kindly for your very encouraging words. With regard to the potential of even more people understanding their lawful options, regrettably I don’t envisage a vast change in the immediate future. Not unless government wakes up to the fact that encouraging ignorance of the law will simply cost us (the tax paying British public) even more money in public expenditure, i.e. paying for funerals which many people cannot afford. I predict that as long as government officials have a preferred policy of consulting on bereavement related matters, with leading figures in the funeral sector who are blatantly supported… Read more »

Poppy Mardall
Guest

Great stuff Teresa. Your words are so wise. The scene where Hayley was taken away made me feel physically sick. We had literally just returned from collecting a wonderful lady from her home. Carers and family helped us lift her onto the stretcher, out of her house and into our car. And they all lined up outside her house to wave her goodbye. And supporting a family to keep their mum at home in the run up to her funeral was one of the most uplifting experiences of my whole life. Re the funeral costs report: why is the conclusion… Read more »

Teresa Evans
Guest

Thank you Charles. Good point Poppy. The Office of Fair Trading made obvious in its report back in 2001 that better public education was needed, but it appears that its recommendations were ignored. My main concern is that Universities spend a lot of time having to fund raise to conduct projects and write reports such as the one produced by CDAS. That in turn means that investigations can be coloured by those that pay the piper. Local authority could do so much more to better educate the public about what their lawful options are following a death and how to… Read more »

James Leedam
Guest

The Bath report was funded by Sunlife Direct….

Teresa Evans
Guest

I am glad that you have drawn attention to the episode of Coronation Street which was aired on Wednesday evening. The scene that you are discussing made me shudder from head to toe. It brought back horrific memories of feeling disempowered after my son Boyd was killed. No one that I was forced to deal with, more specifically the NHS mortician or the coroner, explained what my legal rights and options were. I am not convinced that researchers on the production team are not aware that the law doesn’t place a duty on any of us to hire an undertaker.… Read more »

Billy
Guest
Billy

Dear GFG
You are correct about your comments on the episode, let’s hope that Roy follows Hayley’s wishes for her send off. As it would be nice to see a different more modern funeral on the soap box. And also in the real world.

Poppy Mardall
Guest

Not going forwards? Are you kidding? So many families we help tell us how much help the GFG website has been.

This fact-sheet is INCREDIBLE Charles – fantastic! Really excellent and also wonderfully thorough links to other helpful sources. Amaze-balls.

Teresa Evans
Guest

Hear Hear Poppy!