What the Fuck is Wrong with People?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
As you all know, my family recently lost my Mother-in-Law to cancer. This has been a challenging four weeks, and in many ways, we still can't believe it, things happened so quickly. In short, it sucks to be us right now.

So imagine our surprise when yesterday the Smart Man received a call from the Funeral Home telling him a letter had arrived there to the family of Barbara Comer. He went down there, and received an envelope from a total stranger, Ms. Betty Burrell from Union, Ohio:


Because, really - that's what every family needs to help them through their grief process. EVANGELICAL FORM LETTERS.

As you can imagine, I was livid, not only on my own behalf, but because the love of my life has to deal with this bullshit. So I sent her a letter of my own:

Dear Ms. Burrell:

My name is Janiece, and I am the daughter-in-law of Ms. Barbara A. Comer, formerly of Dayton, OH, who passed away on August 22,2015 in Littleton, CO. I helped to care for Barb in the last days of her life, and gave the eulogy at her service. She was my family, and I couldn’t have loved her more if I’d been born to her family instead of marrying into it.

Today, in one of the worst weeks of his life, my husband had to make a trip to the Parker Funeral Home to retrieve a “letter” you sent postmarked August 5, 2015. It turned out your “letter” wasn’t a letter of condolence at all. How could it be, since it’s obvious you never knew Barb? Instead it was an evangelical FORM LETTER (including cut-and-paste scripture) you send to families after you troll the obituaries.

And now we come to the crux of my communication to you: What the hell is wrong with you? How arrogant you must be to assume that your beliefs are the beliefs of the family members of the recently deceased. How full of hubris, to assume that now, in some of the worst days of our lives, that we would be open to your evangelical twaddle so that you can feel you’re fulfilling your duty as a Christian. Such outreach is wildly inappropriate, offensive, and fundamentally unkind – none of those things being a virtue the last time I read the Bible.

Let me clue you in, Ms Burrell: This IS NOT ABOUT YOU. It’s about US. It’s about Barb, who received the sacraments and the service that were in keeping with her own faith tradition. It’s about her children, who did not share their mother’s faith, but made sure it was respected in her life and after her death. It’s about those of us who loved her, who do not need the additional stress of having to deal with the likes of you instead of having the freedom to grieve and settle her estate without your evangelical harassment.

I sincerely hope that you reevaluate this practice moving forward. It is NOT appreciated, and I suspect most families don’t have the strength or will to call you on your poor manners during the worst times of their lives. But I do, and will have no second thoughts about returning your harassment if you contact my family again.

Janiece


I have to admit, there's a small part of me that wants her to try and contact us again so I can break out the Shovel of Doom™. Test me, Ms Betty Burrell, and incur my wrath. I dare you.

9 comments:

mom in northern said...

How many rewrites did you do before you posted this one? You showed remarkable restraint and class. I am proud of you...Hugs and love to you both...

nzforme said...

Unbelievable.

I can't help but wonder, though, if the funeral home was in on it. I expect yours is not the first letter they've passed on from Crazy Betty.

My sympathies for your loss, and for having to deal with this level of stupid.

Laurie Baldwin said...

I'm embarrassed by some of my fellow Christians. This was completely unacceptable behavior. Good for you for standing up for Terry. Scott & I think of you and hold you close in our hearts.

Janiece said...

Mom, a few. I restrained myself from using the "F" bomb, as I'm sure that would have been less effective.

Hi nzforme. Nice to "see" you again.

The funeral home was not involved. We placed an obituary in the Dayton paper since she lived there for so long. We think Crazy Betty saw it there, and made some assumptions.

Thanks, Laurie.

vince said...

I'm embarrassed by a LOT of my fellow Christians. There was zero excuse for this, and I thought your letter was well written. If she does respond, please keep us informed. I'll bring the popcorn. :-)

Zana said...

30 yrs ago my 9 day old baby died. One photo had been taken of her, the one they do in the hospital and you can choose, or not, to buy. After she died, I got commercial offers and samples to "help me through my grief". One was a book mark with her photo and obituary with bible verses on the other side. Another was a plastic key chain with her photo and a cross.

I just wish I had the energy to respond to them. I was dealing with the grief and my body's demand to feed someone every couple of hours. It was the worst form of opportunism in my mind and it still is.

My sympathies for your loss.

Janiece said...

Welcome, Zana.

I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your daughter. We lost our daughter 2 years ago, and I'm pretty sure it's not something we'll ever get over.

And yes, the worst form of opportunism. If this broad (or her church, or whatever) comes around again, I will cut them.

Louise Cann said...

I really enjoy reading the items you author and this post was certainly no exception. Bravo to you for such a well written response in spite of your obvious grief and loss.Hopefully Crazy Betty won't tread again on your privacy or anyone else's during such a critical time to your family,but I doubt it.Im so sorry for your loss and although I lost my signifacant other in April of this year I've yet to lose my mother.( thank goodness)Regards.

Dr. Phil (Physics) said...

If she replies, I am sure the Firebrands of the UCF, Screaming Metal Chickens Division, will happily spam them.

Dr. Phil