Dash O'Pepper (pfeffermuse) wrote in bad_service,
Dash O'Pepper

When You're Dead You're Dead . . .

My mom died of breast cancer several years ago. Because cancer gallops in our family, my mom chose to donate her body to Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital for research and teaching purposes.

So, while there was a mass in her memory, there was no funeral home involvement (short of a local one providing "Funeral Parking" cards so attendees wouldn't get ticketed for parking on Manhattan streets).

Fast-forward five years later when I need to be named administrator of her estate to receive one final insurance disbursement.

I provided my lawyer with the original will, copies of the death certificate and whatever other paperwork was necessary. Routine. In-out-all-in-a-day's -work.

Uh, no.

The City of New York won't accept this documentation because there's no funeral home and no grave. According to them, either my mom was still alive or I was hiding her body. Even with a doctor-signed death certificate with the seal of the City of New York on it, the bureaucrats couldn't fathom that someone might not have a wake (whereby a funeral home would be necessary), a funeral service with body and coffin, or a family grave.

Okay, contact the church where the mass was held.

Nope. The priest who said her funeral mass had passed away, and the pastor of the church back when the mass was said had been defrocked and the parish wasn't giving out any further information on him.

Contact Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital for the paperwork and a letter proving they had received a body -- specifically my mother's -- for medical research and student teaching.

Thankfully, the doctor in charge of that department was still there, and he wrote a wonderful letter about my mom's selfless donation.

At least with five years between my mom's death and this mess, I could laugh at the sheer idiocy and lunacy of people who are unable to comprehend things out of the ordinary. Had it been shortly after her death, I'd have probably been arrested for bitchslapping a city worker.
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