Disrespecting the dead is one of the oldest human crimes. The Bible references it in the book of Amos when God condemns the nation of Moab because it “burned the bone of the king of Edom to lime.”
The ancient Greek play “Antigone” is all about the desecration of a corpse. A new and vengeful king refuses to allow the titular Antigone to bury her brother, who had fought as a rebel.
The ruler’s cruelty eventually leads to tragic deaths and a pretty obvious moral point: Treat those who have passed on with respect.
Sadly, that’s a lesson that some haven’t learned. The ill-treatment of remains continues today, although sometimes it seems to owe more to accidents than outright maliciousness.
Consider the case of Claire Parrish. According to the BBC, the then-37-year-old British mother died in 2012 during a robbery.
She was cremated after her death and her sister kept her remains in her home along with a picture of Parrish. But during another break-in, a thief stole the vase containing her ashes and a television.
“Why did the thief have to take the pot?” Ebony Parrish asked. “Surely he must have realized that it was something very special because there was a memorial card and photos of Claire beside it.”
Texas residents Janice and Chris Ticey are also trying to wrap their heads around why anyone would steal the remains of a loved one. OA Online reported that the couple runs a Parts Plus store and one of their employees experienced such a theft.
The 71-year-old man had left for a weekend vacation. But when he returned to his West Odessa, Texas, home, he discovered a shocking scene.
Someone had stripped his living room of furniture. The perpetrator had also littered the floor with empty beer cans.
But the Ticeys’ employee wasn’t primarily concerned with that. What horrified him was that the thief had stolen the ashes of his late wife, to whom he’d been married for 51 years.
The man said, “I don’t care about the furniture. That’s replaceable, but she’s gone.”
The Ticeys have stepped up, offering a reward for the return of the remains. “The only thing he cares about is his wife, which tells you after 51 years and at 71 years old his priorities,” Janice Ticey said.
“If we can just get the urn and give him his wife back … She needs to come back to him.”
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