Westmount woman says it took almost 3 weeks to bury her 77-year-old cousin

Click to play video 'Montreal woman finally buried after being ‘left in limbo’' Montreal woman finally buried after being ‘left in limbo’
WATCH: The body of a woman was “left in limbo” for three weeks, despite her now also deceased mother's pre-paid funeral arrangements with the Armstrong-Rideau Funeral Home in Montreal. As Global's Billy Shields reports, Susan Garner was finally laid to rest after being left in the care of the Public Curator – Apr 20, 2018

A Westmount woman is furious after she said bureaucracy and diffidence combined to delay her cousin’s cremation and burial by almost three weeks.

“It wasn’t taken care of fast enough,” said Joanne Stitt, who lost her 77-year-old cousin Susan Garner on March 31.


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Garner was born with severe disabilities and didn’t have many family members around when she died. Stitt was her only living relative still in Quebec, and once she died, she was a ward of the province’s public curator. Stitt describes a nightmare scenario when she tried to bury her cousin.

“I sort of had to go into a problem-solving mode and I didn’t have time to feel my sadness and my loss,” she said. Back in 1987, Garner’s mother Hazel made and paid for Susan’s future funeral arrangements with what was then the Armstrong Funeral Home.

Stitt said that she went back and forth between what’s now the Rideau Funeral Home and the public curator for weeks in an effort to make sure that her aunt’s wishes were carried out and that her cousin was laid to rest as arranged. “I am glad this is over now and sad it came to this,” she told Global News.

Reached by phone, the public curator’s spokesperson, Marc-André Gauthier, told Global News that information about wards of the agency are confidential, but that “in this case, the procedure was followed.”

The funeral home did not return requests for comment by Global News.