Friday, September 11, 2009

Died Today:

Gertrude Baines
World's Oldest Person
April 6, 1894-September 11, 2009 (Age 115)

Gertrude lived long enough to see a black President.  
Too bad it had to be Obama.  

An autopsy is being performed to determine exact cause of death.  Are you kidding me?  She was 115!!!


  1. A real heartbreaker of a story thanks for posting::roll eyes:: But may I segue-way into an unanswered question I posed to you a while back dealing with death, that you either did not see, or chose to ignore which I find hard to believe owing to the spareness of comments on this blog.

    Here goes:
    I think you are the perfect one to answer this question.
    If some people believe that a person becomes a person at at the moment of conception like Rick Warren for instance or maybe you, then why do the righteous let their babies become "medical waste" instead of affording them a decent Christian burial after a miscarriage?
    I don't know anyone else in the stiff business to ask this important question. It just seems morally inconsistent to me. I think this is an interesting subject, because in most states you can't get a cremation or a burial without a death certificate and I could not find any state that would issue one before 20 weeks. I also was surprised that Christian groups have not made an issue out of this.
    I am surprised some bright boy in the funereal business hasn't raised awareness in this area.

  2. Sorry if I ignored your previous question. I haven't been at this blogging thing that long. I've handled services for fetuses under the 20 weeks. (Some religious in nature, some not.) I don't judge what's in peoples' hearts. In California fetuses can be buried with an authorization from next of kin, no other permit required. If you have a problem with the issuance of a DC for fetuses you should write your state representative as it's more of a legal issue than a religious one. People in the funeral business will be glad to handle any death in a legal manner. (And charge accordingly, of course.) Thanks for your comment.

  3. tbird,

    Yours was a very thoughtful question and I did have another thought. I know that there are Christian groups that will give burials (symbolic or otherwise) to aborted fetuses. I would imagine that most Christian parents probably do some type of memorial for a lost "child" under 20 weeks but it may mostly be private. The reason that the Christian community doesn't make an issue out of it is probably numbers i. e. natural infant mortality in this country is fairly low and miscarriage is accidental (God's Will?) and happens in private for the most part. (As opposed to the high profile issue of abortion.)

    Why the state has the cutoff at 20 weeks I would imagine goes back to the old concept of "quickening"

    Again, sorry I missed your question the first time.

  4. FG,
    Here are some statistics I pulled off the web:

    There are about 4.4 million confirmed pregnancies in the U.S.
    every year.
    900,000 to 1 million of those end in pregnancy losses EVERY year.
    More than 500,000 pregnancies each year end in miscarriage
    (occurring during the first 20 weeks).
    Approximately 26,000 end in stillbirth (considered stillbirth after
    20 weeks)
    Approximately 19,000 end in infant death during the first month.
    Approximately 39,000 end in infant death during the first year.
    Approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage; some estimates
    are as high as 1 in 3. If you include loss that occurs before a positive
    pregnancy test, some estimate that 40% of all conceptions result in loss.

    So, what you are looking at are clearly a lot of dead babies if you believe life starts at conception.
    Since, from your remarks I can surmise that you don't see anywhere near the numbers reflected above, it seems to me a moral disconnect that a lot of these people who let their "babies" go down their toilets or end up as medical waste, conveniently look the other way when it comes to the disposal of the remains.
    The high road they take on the issues of stem cell research and abortion just doesn't seem to jive with the actual treatment they give the unborn.
    I mean why not dump grandpa in the manure pile when he croaks?
    A life is a life is it not?
    Obviously, there is a buck to be made here.

  5. tbird

    A cursory check of the web on my part tells me your stats are pretty good. I was surprised they were so high, frankly. (One site gave the miscarriage rate as 10-25%, quite a wide range, IMO) But, numbers aside, let's go to your main point.

    It seems to me-correct me if I'm wrong-that your point is twofold. Christian hypocrites and greedy funeral homes missing out on a lucrative market.

    First, in all the stats how do you know how many of these births are to Christian parents? There's no way to know outside of a survey, I suppose. Maybe all the Christian fetuses had respectful dispositions. Who knows? What constitutes a respectful "Christian" burial? I have folks who take their loved one's cremated remains and scatter them in the woods that they loved. Loving? Respectful? To me. Yes. But to some it might be like "dumping grandpa in the manure pile." Again, I can't judge what's in someone's heart.

    As to making this into a money maker for the funeral home I'll say what I always say. Yes the funeral home is in business. A business has to make money to stay in business. However, contrary to the opinion of many, we do have certain ethical guidelines we follow. (Are there unscrupulous funeral homes? Yes. Just as there are hypocritical Christians and hypocritical global warming Cassandras. It's a fallen world, isn't it?) We don't solicit business outside of normal advertising venues. (Newspaper ads, websites, etc.) Dropping business cards around hospital emergency rooms might seem like a whiz bang idea but in the end would turn people off and be counter productive. I think the same could be said for putting an ad in a church bulletin. "Had a miscarriage? Don't just flush it down the toilet. Call the ACME Funeral Home for a decent Christian burial of your baby fetus. It's the right thing to do." Yuck.

    There's enough death in the world to go around. We'll just wait for the call.

    Been enjoying the exchange.

  6. You broke down my point to its basest, but I wonder if Christians who make up 80+ percent of the US population by some statistics really think about what they are doing when they dispose of these miscarriages in such a seemingly cavalier fashion. There is also a segment of Christian society (and many other religious persuasions I am sure) that feels it should produce as many offspring as possible to further its global ideological ambitions. I got interested in this because someone I know casually just had her 4th consecutive miscarriage and has already been "blessed" with 5 kids. I know them well enough to know they did nothing special with the remains. I always thought it odd they treat life with such great dignity and respect but this kind of death of a life so inelegantly (to be kind!).
    I thought perhaps it was as simple as out of sight out of mind, or it was inconvenient. Perhaps it is both of those things. ( Yeah, I know I must have way too much times on my hands!)
    As far as the funeral parlor biz, I would think it would have done what advertising did for underarm odor, create awareness first, and then a service or product to deal with it.. After all, as crass as it sounds, this is a capitalistic society, and I think that awareness could be worth a few bucks. Judging by your response, the funeral industry ain't exactly hurting from this economic downturn though. Oh, well...
    Signing off for now...

  7. tbird

    I don't think you have to much time on your hands. Maybe you just enjoy pondering questions that ultimately have no easy answers.

    As to the last. People gonna die recession or no. We do get more cremations though. Also lowered the price on some of the caskets.