Can You Handle It?

Written By: The Lowdown - Mar• 31•13

2013 03 small coverA few months ago, I had the sad task of choosing a coffin in which to bury my father.

No matter how long someone has been ill and, as he said, ‘in the departure lounge’ when the time comes and your loved one does pass on, it is still a shock and a highly emotional time for those left behind. Having to organise the funeral certainly helps one to keep going during those initial days. As a family, we had sat down a few years ago and discussed together with my father what he wanted for his funeral. This is certainly to be recommended if for no reason than that those of us left behind knew exactly what had to be done and it was easy to allocate the tasks to each person. One of mine was to liaise with the funeral parlour and to arrange the coffin. My father, a farmer, was a plain no-nonsense person and the requirement for his coffin was that it be as plain as possible.

‘Plain’ was almost an impossibility. Most of the coffins were ornate with fancy corners, elaborate embossing and curly handles. Choosing the least fancy wooden coffin, I couldn’t help thinking that we might have been better off having our farm carpenter knock something together, something that was sturdy, solid and strong.  But it was too late for that and I had to take what was available.

All went well, and in this, I must commend Ambassador St Ann’s. They were very easy to work with and they were on time; in fact they were early. But the disappointment came when the pall bearers, the most senior members of our staff, were to carry the coffin. They were informed that they could not use the handles as they were not strong enough to bear the weight of a body. In other words they were there for decoration only!

Is this not a disgrace and a slur on our coffin manufacturers?

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