29th August 2010

I've always been a 'what if....?' person. Something in the local news brought this home to me this week.
Josianne Vermeersch received the news we all dread. Her brother had died. Despite her sadness, she arranged that the interment would be at the cemetery in Hellemmes, N. France. All the family were contacted, including her ex-husband Elie Langlet, but she couldn't reach her 42 year old son Oliver, who lived alone nearby. When he still failed to answer, she left a message on his mobile phone that he should attend his uncle's funeral. However he failed to turn up. After the funeral, the family sadly made their way back along a cemetery path, when she suddenly let out a cry. In front of her was a newly-dug plot 'Oliver Langlet, 1968 - 2010'. The local mairie confirmed Oliver's death and said that they had sent a letter to the family, but the address they used was out of date. In French law, as in many eastern religions, interments are required to be carried out quickly. So, in cases where the family cannot be found, the burial goes ahead without them!
In today's society where increasing numbers are living alone, it's vital that individuals leave up-to-date next-of-kin contact information with their local doctor and/or their mairie in France. The doctor's a good choice as it's usually he who writes the death certificate. Once done, constructive negativists like me can get on with their lives.

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