Recently I had an experience at a funeral home that I feel I need to share.

My husband died recently and I went to pick up his ashes. I signed the release and they brought the ashes out to me. I looked inside the urn and asked if his name was on the circular disk. The answer was “no” but it was on the rectangular tag. This tag had a female’s name on it. I brought it to their attention and they were shocked, looked at it and excused themselves taking the ashes with them.

After five minutes of waiting I knew there was a problem. After another five minutes or so they came out empty handed. The other family had already picked up what they thought was their family members ashes and they could not be reached by phone.

The funeral home apologized and said they would deliver my husband’s ashes to me. I left with all kinds of “what ifs” going through my head.

After my other errands were completed about four hours, I returned home. No messages on the answering machine from the funeral home.

I called and asked if my husband’s ashes had been found. They said “yes” and put me on hold. The gentleman I talked to earlier came on the line and said they had my husband’s ashes and would deliver them.

I got another “I’m sorry” and “they have some new people working at the crematory” insinuating the crematory got the ashes mixed up. I did not buy that for one minute. The tag with his name also had the name of the funeral home. The round disk had the name of the crematory and a number on it. There was also an envelope from the crematory, which held a formal paper stating my husband’s name, the disk number and the date of cremation.

The funeral home did not want to take responsibility for the mix-up but wanted to blame the crematory.

When you purchase a pair of shoes, you look to see that they match. The same concept should be used when ashes are disbursed. The funeral home should verify the name on the tag, disk number, envelope and legal paper to the family picking them up.

I hope you do not get the surprise I got. Please check inside the urn when you receive it, it could save you and another family heartache and stress now and in the future.


Fay L. Hartpence