‘Trauma’ for family incorrectly told they missed grandma’s cremation

A family are furious after calling a funeral home to find out what time their grandmother was being cremated – only to be told it had already been done.

The grieving family were then called back to say she hadn’t actually been cremated because the cremator had broken.

Granddaughter Liz Donohue said the miscommunication, which happened earlier today, has made an already difficult time even harder for her family.

“The trauma and emotional drain on the family is very unnecessary and unprofessional,”Donohue told the Herald.

Souly Funerals company director Aleisha Morris said she intended to tell the family on Monday morning that Boswell’s cremation was scheduled for 12pm, but became busy with other families.

But, she says the family weren’t meant to be there for the cremation as it wasn’t part of the package they had paid for.

“My only fault is that I didn’t tell them what time the cremation was. I was meant to ring them this morning.”

Donohue’s 86-year-old grandmother, who the family didn’t want identified, died on Saturday night at CHT Waiuku Rest Home and Hospital after being unwell for several weeks.

Souly Funerals staff arrived on Sunday and told the family it would confirm what time her cremation would be.

Donohue said her family had discussed funeral arrangements several weeks ago when her grandmother became unwell. She says they had arranged with Souly Funerals to be present at her cremation as part of what they believed was a basic package with no open casket.

“The request was clear that we wanted to be there for her cremation.”

Her mother then called the funeral home twice on this morning to clarify what time the cremation would be but received no reply.

Just before midday she received a call from the funeral home director, who said her mother had already been cremated and the funeral home had forgotten to tell the family.

“Mum rang me bawling her eyes out, saying she feels like she had abandoned my nana.”

But a short time later the funeral director rang her mother again, confirming her mother had not been cremated at the planned time of 12pm because the cremator had broken.

At this point Donohue said she was skeptical and demanded to see her grandmother’s casket to check she had not been cremated.

“We went down to get proof to check they weren’t palming off another box,” she told the Herald.

Souly Funerals obliged, and the family were able to meet at Mangere Lawn Cemetery and Crematorium in time for her grandmother’s cremation this afternoon.

“These companies are doing the next step for our loved ones and they need to know compassion and clarity is really important,” she about the handling of the situation.

“We are making sure she goes with dignity.”

Morris told the Herald the family had agreed to a basic cremation with a no-viewing casket so she did not know anyone wanted to be present.

“I think it’s unfair, if the family wanted a different option, we have different options, but it’s not what was chosen,” she told the Herald.

“They could have come to the funeral home beforehand and followed through to cremation but it costs more money.

“They couldn’t afford to do that.”

Donohue claims her mother made it very clear to Souly Funerals she only wanted to be present for the cremation.

“The only reason I demanded to see the casket today is because I felt they were trying to cremate a box and back-pedal,” she said.

A memorial for Boswell is being held at Waiuku Christian Fellowship on Saturday.

Donohue said it will be a celebration of her grandmother’s life and attendees are encouraged to wear bright colours.

“It’s lots of fun and joy, no one is to wear black … it’s a full celebration of her life and to remember the good times.”

Donohue helped to provide 24/7 service for her grandmother in her final weeks at the rest home, when she stopped eating and drinking.

“She is a God-fearing woman and she brought up all her six kids. She was the monarch of that side of the family,” she said.

“We got into trouble for this that and the other and she never judged us.

“She is going to be very much missed.”

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