Archive for the ‘Funeral’ Category

Service of Who Would Have Thought

Thursday, June 11th, 2020


Facts can tell an unexpected story.  Some balk at facing them while others are surprised by them.

Who’d have thought that the incidence of coronavirus infection would ever be lower in New York City than in other parts of the country or that in spite of the unfortunate dramatic increase in customers that the funeral business would be unprofitable?

Even though we’re sick of wearing masks and social distancing the facts suggest we must and that even though more and more states are loosening their restrictions on businesses, we’ve not yet closed the door on the virus.

Is Anyone Listening? Don’t Spoil it Now


The threat of Covid-19 isn’t nearly over but too many people in my neighborhood, three days after NYC opened just a crack in Phase 1, act as though it is. I’m unhappily surprised.

I was in awe, in the thick of it, at how many New Yorkers followed recommendations of the CDC. Most wore masks and kept their distance for months. We are told that’s why we are in such good shape earlier than hoped for.

The sudden behavior reversal I witnessed isn’t promising based on other states that have loosened their pandemic belts. Oliver Milman wrote on June 9 in The Guardian: “A total of 14 states and the US territory of Puerto Rico have recorded their worst week yet for new coronavirus infections, with Texas hitting a record high in Covid-19 hospitalizations, all while restrictions to curb the pandemic are being relaxed across America.

“According to data tracked by the Washington Post, since the start of June……..the states are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.”

The Governor of Arizona, a state that Milman reported showed “one of the largest jumps in the country,” attributed it to more testing.

He wrote: “As states in the north-east experience drops in new cases, states across the south and California are seeing increases even as they loosen social distancing rules designed to prevent person-to-person transmission of the virus.”


Kids will be kids is no longer acceptable when the outcome is potentially deadly. “Point Pleasant Beach was ‘treated like an absolute toilet,’ mayor says after thousands gather for pop-up party” Anthony G. Attrino wrote on “Mayor Paul Kanitra took to Facebook on Wednesday and said the youthful partiers left ‘trash everywhere,’ drank alcohol and smoked marijuana in public, changed clothes in residents’ yards and were seen ‘urinating in bushes.’” On WOR 710 radio this morning the Mayor said that masks were not part of the scene. In 14 days we’ll see the result.

Too Much Business Doesn’t Translate to Profits

In light of brisk business due to Covid-19 deaths alone you’d think that funeral parlors would be doing very well. Because cremation–which costs less than a burial at graveside–and the elimination of wakes during the pandemic, the opposite is true.

Barbara Kemmis, executive director of the Cremation Association of North America told USA Today:  “More people are choosing cremation because they can’t have a funeral.” Kemmis told Bloomberg News: ” The rate of cremations now may be as high as 80% in some parts of the country where they’ve historically been less than 50%.

Jef Feeley of Bloomberg News wrote: “The viciousness of covid-19, with the U.S. death toll topping 100,000, is upending cherished traditions in the $16.3 billion funeral industry. Services where hundreds once mourned now offer a sad tableau of 10 family members at a grave site or cremation mausoleum. Satin-lined caskets carrying price tags of $10,000 or more are replaced by $300 cremation urns ordered online. Drive-by and video viewings are required in these socially distanced times.”

Feeley wrote: “Another drain on funeral-home resources is the need to provide masks, heavy gloves and protective clothing for workers handling bodies.”

Because businesses are opening up do people you know act as though we’ve seen the last of Covid-19?  In spite of recommendations by doctors, have citizens in your city or town become lax in social distancing and wearing masks? Were you surprised that the funeral industry, with the dramatic uptick in business, has taken such a financial hit?



Service of Last to Know

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Last to know

There’s a child passenger safety commercial featuring competitive parents in a playground who repeatedly say, “I know that,” after a string of kid-related factoids such as “did you know that friendly kids have more friends?” or “did you know that boys who play with dolls make better husbands?” The last mother to speak asks: “did you know that parents think that they are using the right car seat for their kids but they are not?” This the assembled men and women didn’t know.

There are times that I think I’ve discovered something that it turns out everyone else already knows. Here are three instances:

The last word

flowers on coffinI recently heard about funeral homes that play a tape of the deceased talking to those assembled at the funeral. The tape was [obviously] made before the grim reaper arrived. The practice was new to me.

Check it out

grocery belt fullI pay for groceries by credit card. I’d changed handbags and realized, at the grocery checkout, that I had none with me. On the belt was a large pile of groceries I’d selected so I paid by check–which I haven’t done in decades. The cashier handed me back my check, marked void all over it, with my receipt. Printed on the receipt was: “When you provide a check as payment, you authorize us to use information from your check to process a one-time Electronic Funds Transaction {EFT} or draft drawn from your account, or process the payment as a check transaction. You also authorize us to process credit adjustments, if applicable…….” This instant paperwork and getting back the check from the cashier was all new to me!

All welcome

Father O'DonovanI watched Beau Biden’s funeral on C-SPAN and was impressed when Rev. Leo J. O’Donovan, who gave the homily and officiated, [photo, right], told the assembly that they are all invited to approach the alter during communion. The emeritus president of Georgetown University advised those unable to receive communion [because they are not Catholic or didn’t want to partake], to cross their arms over their chests so that they would instead receive a blessing. Seems this welcome practice has been going on, especially at weddings and funerals, for 20 years. My friends knew about it. I’ve been to Catholic funerals and ceremonies in two decades yet it was new to me.


Small fireworks are now legal in New York State. I saw them for sale on Sunday at the A&P. The brother of a college boyfriend had blown off three fingers in a fireworks accident in high school so beyond sparklers, while I love watching them, going near them makes me nervous.

I sometimes ask myself, “Where have you been?” Do you? Have you recently “discovered” something everyone else already knows about?

where have I been

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