Friday, April 3, 2009

Can't We Get It Right?

Both the viewing and the funeral are on Saturday.

There’s a point in all this that’s bothersome to me. OK, truthfully, there’s many points in all this that’s bothersome to me, but only one that has nothing to do with last wishes, family issues, or my previously made weekend plans.

And that’s time of death. They have his death date listed as yesterday. He most assuredly did not die on April 2. Granted, he died in the final hour of April 1, but, since he was not on Eastern Time, he technically died April 1. Apparently, they go by when the official from Hospice arrived on the scene. This must be part of procedure for an at-home death.

I’m not sure why this is bothering me so much. It probably just gives me something to focus my attention on while avoiding the obvious. But still, shouldn’t your death date be accurate if someone actually knows when you died?

I know there are cases where no one knows for sure and all a coroner can do is guess. I sat through years of inquests and there were at least one or two of those annually, including murder cases where someone was found days or even weeks later. Those bothered me, too.

I guess it’s no different really than births in the old days. I seem to recall there was some dispute about which side of midnight my grandmother – who was born at home in 1910 – arrived on. She used the “official” record, Feb.8, though I think her mother always contended that the actual date was Feb. 7.

I guess it must be both the reporter (I was one for several years) and the genealogist in me. I like to be as accurate as I can, in part, because telling that story is really the only thing I can do for my ancestors. And I feel like I owe it to them to get it right.

Apparently, more "official" channels don't agree.


Jayne said...

His date of death is listed as April 2nd because that's when the Coroner got around to prounouncing him dead. More bureaucracy. It is irritating--as you said, someone was there as he passed and knew when it happened. There's an interesting article in the March '09 Smithsonian magazine in which the author compares two funerals, one done at home and one done more conventionally at a funeral home. It's a very touching look at how our society deals with death.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you that it matters. If it bothers you, it matters. In the world today, the little details seem to fall to the wayside. Convenience and bureaucracy seem to rule.

By the way, I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers go out to you and your family.

Kay said...

I must talk to you about your grandmother, since my birthday is Feb. 7. Have to see if we're alike! I'm very sorry for your loss. Anytime you need cheering up, I have a good drill story for you ...

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for your loss. I'm just getting caught up.

You have a right to upset about the date since your family knows the correct date. I would be upset about something that important, it's your family records.

It just seems that everything has to be so bloody complicated anymore.


NV said...

Jayne -- Thanks! I'll have to check out that article -- after this funeral gets a little farther behind me.

Star-- Thank you! I appreciate that for both me and my family.

Kay -- I'd never thought of that. We must discuss. And I must hear about the drill ...

Michele -- Thank you! You'd think it would be simpler, right?

Anonymous said...