Diatribe: Being Charged A Reburial Fee After Floodwaters Unearth Your Wife’s Coffin.
We lost our cat last winter. He was almost fifteen years old. He’d been slowing down for a few months and could no longer hop up onto the sofa to watch television with us. We’d bought a little stool for him to use so he could get up onto the bed to sleep at our feet and his trips down the steep flight of stairs to his litter box were taking him noticeably longer, but he was a stubborn old cat and very set in his ways.
When his time had finally come and our veterinarian had helped him comfortably take his final breaths, we brought him to the space we had prepared for him in the pet cemetery beside the shed in our yard where we carefully covered him with a heavy concrete slab so that nothing would upset his final resting place and, just as importantly, give us cause to see him again due to the unpleasant antics of passing fauna or inclement weather.
Last week’s intense flooding in Houston, Texas, caused the coffin of Carolyn Lee, buried in 2007, to float to the surface of Riceville Cemetery. Widower, Richard Lee, received even more disturbing news when he was told that he would have to pay a discounted reburial fee to rebury her. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing since his wife had been laid to rest in a sealed concrete vault! But when he arrived at the cemetery he recognized the casket which had floated at least fifty yards before stopping along a guard rail.
“I didn’t want to look inside because I’d never get that out of my mind.” – Richard Lee
Apparently, the vault wasn’t sealed correctly and there were no built-in holes to allow floodwaters to pass in and out.
“Clearly something went wrong here. Bodies are not supposed to come up.” – Annie McAdams, Attorney for Richard Lee
Lee has sued the funeral home that buried his wife. His lawsuit not only alleges negligence in burying her but also says it caused him anguish after his wife’s “charcoaled and sunken” face was described to him. An injunction has been filed on Lee’s behalf to keep the grave site clear while investigators try to figure out what happened and determine if others buried there were done so properly so this never happens to another family.
Meanwhile, another local funeral home has stepped up to the plate and will re-inter Lee’s wife free of charge.
I sure miss our cat. And I’m really glad there’s no chance that I’ll ever see him again.
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