Family traumatised after funeral home mix-up

Nadine Carroll
·3-min read

A grieving family are upset and confused after calling a funeral home to arrange a time for their grandmother’s cremation, only to be told it had already taken place.

The New Zealand family had arranged with Souly Funerals for the family to be present, but were shocked when they were told on Monday the cremation had already occurred. 

"The trauma and emotional drain on the family is very unnecessary and unprofessional," granddaughter Liz Donohue said.

A casket
A grieving family have been left upset and confused after calling a funeral home to arrange a time for their grandmother’s cremation only to be told it had already taken place. Source: Getty

Ms Donohue’s 86-year-old grandmother, who the family didn’t wish to identify, passed away on Saturday after being unwell for several weeks.

Souly Funerals staff advised the family on Sunday they would confirm what time the cremation would take place, according to The New Zealand Herald.

Ms Donohue said her mother called the funeral home twice on Monday morning to confirm, but only received a return phone call advising her the cremation had already taken place.

Souly Funerals company director Aleisha Morris told the news outlet she had intended to tell the family what time the cremation was scheduled for but became busy with other families.

"My only fault is that I didn't tell them what time the cremation was. I was meant to ring them this morning,” she said.

Souly Funerals in New Zealand
Souly Funerals company director Aleisha Morris told the outlet she had intended to tell the family what time the cremation was scheduled for but became busy with other families. Source: Souly Funerals

Ms Donohue said the family had requested to be present at the cremation as part of what they believed was the basic package, leaving her mother in tears.

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

A short time later, the family received another call telling them the cremation actually hadn't happened as the cremator was broken, leaving the family distressed.

'We are making sure she goes with dignity'

Ms Donohue told the NZ Herald the family then demanded they see their grandmother’s casket in person.

"We went down to get proof to check they weren't palming off another box," she said.

The family were able to be present at at the cremation on Monday afternoon but said they are still upset at how the sensitive situation was handled.

"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."

Souly Funerals
Souly Funerals insisted the accusations were “unfair” and the family didn't purchase a package that included being present at a cremation. Source: Souly Funerals

Souly Funerals insisted the accusations were “unfair” and the family didn't purchase a package that included being present at a cremation.

“If the family wanted a different option, we have different options, but it's not what was chosen," Ms Morris told the publication.

"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."

Ms Donohue said a celebration of her grandmother’s life will take place on Saturday, with attendees 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," she said.

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