As I said in my previous article, when death occurs we need to develop a plan and do so quickly. Thank heavens I have developed the ability to place my tasks in compartments. Not because I am smart, but this way I am amble to manage tasks without becoming overwhelmed but to process these separately, by compartmentalising them. Do try it, this strategy works pretty well in most situations of human endeavours.
- Secure the mortal remains and contact the local police to ensure that the mortal remains are moved to a mortuary. Not that simple as it may suggest. You see, the South African police provides this service only if the cause of death was due to “unnatural” causes, such as a road accident, a shootings etc. This said, on the following day I was contacted by a police constable who informed me that an investigation needed to be conducted, which included an autopsy to be performed in order to rule out foul play, which in my mind refers to unnatural causes, since at the time of death it could not be considered as being of a natural cause. A scenario, which to me appears somewhat in conflict with itself.
- Secure an hotel room for mom and the baby to stay overnight and arrange return flights the following day.
- Identify and contact a local undertaker to collect the mortal remains. A task, which may seem simple, yet fraught with deceitful service providers preying on the emotionally distraught and the dead. Exorbitant quotes followed the very next day but by then it's too late to reverse the decision. You see, the service provider is already in possession of the mortal remains and the clock has already started ticking. This happened when I granted permission for the body to be removed. What then follows is a range of fees I did not know existed; body collection fees, washing fees, storage fees at a rate per day, transportation fees, body preparation fees and the list goes on. It is like having your vehicle towed away after a car accident and then trying to reclaim it from the towing company. This is a common practice by preying undertakers, including the one I authorised to collect the mortal remains of Charmaine. And no, if you fail to pay, they simply refuse to release the body from their storgage facilities. Yes, there I said it, “their storage facilities”. A note of caution, don’t die when travelling out of town, without the correct insurance plan in place. Transportation costs could easily exceed burial costs to the tune of tens of thousands of Rands, a hugely expensive undertaking.
- Attend to a distraught father, mother and brother and then attempt to figure out what to do next. Fending off endless calls and messages of condolences from close friends and family. But also the words self-proclaimed saints using profound expressions and shallow insights proclaiming at the top of their pityful voices; “shame, it was her time”.
After these tasks had been concluded, I was finally left with my own thoughts. Having recently separated from my former spouse and awaiting the finalisation of an impending divorce, it was a matter of finding some sort of solace within myself, and perhaps a pillow to weep upon. This was the only comfort available at the time, and so I grabbed it!