After losing mother and grandmother Magdalene Galant to a heart attack at the end of January, one Cape Town family had to deal with another troubling blow when their funeral home delivered the wrong body to Ms. Galant’s service.
But that's not the worst of it.
When it was pointed out to him that he had brought a stranger’s corpse to the proceedings, the undertaker repeatedly insisted that it was in fact the body of the 58-year-old.
Galant’s husband, Michael, opened the coffin before the service was set to begin and instantly realized that something was amiss. “I opened my wife’s casket and she didn’t look right. I immediately knew something was wrong,” he said. “My daughter came to me and said, ‘that’s not mommy’, and then I knew this was a big mistake.”
The family then approached the undertaker and informed him of the mistake, but he convinced them to go ahead with the service anyhow. For a while, people just continued to stream into the church to pay their last respects to Galant. Word eventually spread throughout the church that it wasn’t actually her in the coffin but the funeral went as planned anyway.
After the service, the family was escorted to the mortuary and undertakers finally located the correct body. “When we got to the mortuary they showed us that Magdalene was still there and they had given us the wrong person to bury,” said family friend Fatima Karriem. “We were all just so shocked.”
The Morning Star funeral directors had no explanation for the egregious mistake but have apologized to the family and promised to help with planning the details for a second funeral service.