Shortly after my wife’s mother’s funeral, we received a letter from the funeral home thanking us for our patronage and wishing us the best under these hard circumstances. It then ended by telling us to expect a forthcoming survey and that they hoped we would be able to rate their services ten out of ten in all aspects. Yes, just like a car dealership.
The funeral services were, in fact, very nice, but really? A survey?
So, in a morbid humor, my wife and I envisioned a twisted questionnaire arriving in our mailbox. The envelope is black, the paper thick and smooth to the touch. The letter is sealed in the old fashioned style with a disc of brittle wax, also black and stamped with the visage of a weeping skull.
We crack the wax and pull out a magnificently hand-lettered note followed by a series of questions. With some trepidation, we begin to read.
I thank you again for your contribution this past month. I understand your hearts may be broken, but you are well aware that souls must be collected and the selection of your mother was in no way a personal assailment of your family.
In order to help future deaths run as smoothly as possible, I would be greatly appreciative if you would take a few minutes to complete the following survey about your mother’s death. Please mark your answers in the blood of a survivor and leave the survey on your kitchen counter. I will send a minion to pick it up in the dark of night.
Thank you again for your patronage, and don’t hesitate to summon me if I can assist you in any way.
Yours for eternity,
[signature illegible – starts with a ‘D’]
Death Satisfaction Survey
Question 1 – On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with your mother’s death?
Question 2 – Overall, how would you rate the thoroughness of your mother’s death?
Question 3 – Before learning of your mother’s death, were you asked to sit down?
Question 4 – Was your mother’s death suitably shocking to family and friends?
Question 5 – During the grieving process, what percentage of people you spoke with asked “How are you doing?” or “How are you holding up?”
Question 6 – In your deepest despair after your mother’s death, would you describe your feelings as haunted, despondent, wretched, bitter, woebegone, cheerful, ablepharus, or “meh”? Circle all that apply.
Question 7 – If your mother were to die again tomorrow, what, if anything, would you change about her death? Please be specific.
Question 8 – Based on your overall experience, how likely are you to recommend your mother’s death to others?
Question 9 – Would you like your eventual death handled in a similar manner? (Please note that we cannot guarantee a particular death for any individual. Your response is taken in aggregate and used as input for the larger pool of deaths worldwide.)
Question 10 – Do you have any additional suggestions or comments regarding the concept or process of death?
Thank you again for your involuntary participation in the circle of death and your voluntary participation in this survey of death. Your cooperation will be remembered when your time comes.