The drive to work every morning follows the usual pattern of: cursing weekdays, yawns, coffee in my thermos, mints after the coffee, lipstick after the mints and the radio all through. Since I am not much of a newspaper person these days (never was, actually), my only dose of world affairs is the morning radio. Most often it is about another shark bite or skin cancer, but occasionally there is word about wardrobe malfunctions or celebrity separations. I never really take the news to heart…and my heart doesn’t wake up that early anyway.
But it did, last week.
After the familiar voice narrated all the familiar things, it mentioned something that jerked me out of my morning fuzzes. Apparently, there were 60 dead bodies in the Royal Perth Hospital that hadn’t been claimed over the last 8 weeks. There was growing concern among the hospital authorities on the cost, time and effort that would be necessary for the burial of these bodies, if none of the families came forward to take responsibility of the last rites. Authorities also reported that each year the number of unclaimed dead bodies was on the rise. There was reason to believe that families often abandoned the bodies of their relatives/friends as the cost of a funeral was far beyond what an average Australian family could afford. The Global Financial Crisis and unemployment had found yet another manifestation.
Shocked, angry, confused and mostly sad, I couldn’t help but think that in spite of all the progress and development that our generation takes credit for, the human race was getting farther away from being “humane”. Researchers have found burial grounds of Neanderthal man dating to 60,000 BC with animal antlers on the body and flower fragments next to the corpse indicating some type of ritual and gifts of remembrance. And here we are in the 21st century, abandoning our loved ones because “they wouldn’t know, anyway”.
And suddenly those annoying advertisements that urged everyone to get a funeral cover made so much sense: Naturally you don’t want to burden your family and loved ones with outstanding bills and funeral expenses if you were to pass away. With Funeral Expenses Insurance you can help make life easier for your family and loved ones should the worst happen to you.
The worst has happened I think. Not so much the death…but the life that is so helpless or selfish.