The grief industry


Anyone who has lost someone special in recent years may be familiar with the relatively new way available to express condolences online.

In Craig’s case, since we published death notices in Canwest newspapers in Montreal and Ottawa (the Gazette and The Ottawa Citizen respectively), the obit and a guest book also appeared online at remembering.ca where we have been very pleased to receive notes of sympathy, support and fond memories of Craig.

We have known that the listing would only stay online, for free, for thirty days which we thought meant a couple more days.  Not so.  The notice has been taken down, along with access to the guest book.  The website assures me, however, that it can all be retrieved and reactivated for a price.  As I recall – and, as is typical at these times in one’s life, my recall is not great – the only option would be to “sponsor” the listing for an entire year.

This, of course, is just one of the surprises that comes to anyone in the throes of grief – the obscene cost of running the death notice for two days, in two newspapers, being another one.  Having planned his funeral, particularly the dealings with his remains, to be very inexpensive Craig had enough experience with grieving families, during his years of ministry, to know that there are all sorts of extra costs encountered.

He probably would have shied away from tributes, other than the memorial fund he extablished, but as people are still only now learning of his death it seems too much to expect a one month limit for online guest books to be sufficient. For example, it was the guest book that helped, at least in part, to link me up with cousin Jamie, and my life is definitely richer for that!

Fine.  I’ll get an extension. I have renewed the listing at The Gazette.

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