Goodbye Joan Rivers Queen of Comedy

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Goodbye Joan Rivers Queen of Comedy:
Joan Alexandra Molinsky, born June 8th 1933. She was better known as Joan Rivers. An actress, comedienne, writer, producer, and television host. She was known for her stand-up comedy, her red carpet interviews and especially for her co-hosting show the Fashion Police on E!. She knew the ins and outs when it came to fashion and she definitely knew how to describe an outfit, be it a bust or a success. She had a successful 50 years career on stage and on TV. She was a feisty, out-spoken with no-hold-barred approach kind of women. She was an inspiration to many comedians, be it female or other, she was inspiring.
Joan first made her appearance on TV in 1965 as a guest on The Tonight Show hosted by Johny Carson where he said “You're going to be a star," and he was right. In 1986 she launched a late night talk show by the name of, The Late Show with Joan Rivers. She was the first women to host her own late night show on network television. She later went on to host a successful daytime show, The Joan Rivers Show from 1989 to 1993. In 2010 she began co-hosting the Fashion Police alongside Guiliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos. She also authored 12 best-selling memoir and humor books.
She was an advocate to several organisations such as The American foundation of Suicide Prevention, Wounded Warriors, God’s Love we Deliver, Guide Dogs for the blind and GLAAD. Rivers devoted much of her time to philanthropy, including supporting and promoting HIV/AIDS activism.
On August 28, 2014, Rivers experienced serious complications and stopped breathing during a routine surgical procedure on her vocal cords at a clinic in Yorkville, Manhattan. She was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital where she was put into a medically induced coma after reportedly suffering cardiac arrest. On August 30, she was put on life support.
On September 1, 2014, Rivers' physicians had reportedly begun trying to bring her out of the coma, and she was moved to a private room on September 3, still without a prognosis. The following day, September 4, Rivers died at 1:17 pm EDT. The exact cause of death was still undetermined after two days, while more tests had been ordered.

Her funeral took place on September 7, 2014 at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan. The private ceremony was attended by numerous public figures, talk show host Howard Stern delivered the eulogy. Stern described Rivers as "brassy in public [and] classy in private ... a troublemaker, trail blazer, pioneer for comics everywhere, ... [who] fought the stereotypes that women can't be funny." (Source

Transporting the deceased and burial rituals:

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Transporting the deceased and burial rituals:
Each culture/religion has their own way of transporting the bodies of the deceased. Some cultures prefer to ride along with their loved ones to the morgue or funeral home, while others send the bodies to the morgue/ funeral home and only see their loved one again at the funeral. There are many methods for transporting the deceased back home. 1) It can be by air but not many airlines permits it 2) can be by see 3) or by vehicle.  Every culture varies in their methods of transporting the deceased and even their funerals differ.

Traditional Christian Funeral:
Traditional Christian funeral are where Christians pray for the deceased soul, as well as to comfort and support the bereaved. The typical Christian funerals include:
1. Opening statements lead by the priest or minister. Depending on the religion it may be either a prayer, a statement that shows support to the bereaved, or a combination of both.
2. Prayers and hymns are read and sung throughout the funeral. Guests are often encouraged to read or sing along at appropriate times.
3. Scripture readings are a common part of most services. Similar to prayer and hymns, the specific readings and their placement in the ceremony differ by religion.
4. A remembrance given by a close friend or family member honors the life and gifts of the deceased.
5. The service ends with closing words given by the minister. He states that the service is over and leads the procession to the cemetery.
6. Graveside services also differ by religion, but all services have some form of words of committal in which the minister reads a prayer, praises Jesus and prays for the soul of the deceased.
Traditional African burial rites:
In African religions, life does not end with death, but continues in another realm. Many African religions believe that death does not alter nor change one’s life or their personality it only changes their conditions. This is expressed in the concept of “ancestor”, people who have died but “live” on in the community and communicate with their families.
Some Africans have a custom of removing a dead body through a hole created in the wall of the house rather than through the door. Though, the hole in the wall is closed immediately as the dead person is removed through it. They believe that by passing the dead through the hole, it will be impossible for the dead person to remember the way back to the living since the hole in the wall has been closed. (Source
Reincarnation which is referred to the soul of a dead person being reborn in another body is a common believe among Africans. Whenever a child is born into a family, the father of the child makes enquiries from the elders of the family to know the departed parent or ancestor that have reincarnated. They believed that the dead returns to their communities. Sometimes, reincarnates of the dead bears the dead person’s name when he/she was alive. There could be as many as possible reincarnates of a particular dead soul in a family. These reincarnates most time have similar characters and physical appearance in terms of body size, complexion, facial look and mode of movement with the dead person. In the Yoruba and Ibo ethnic groups of Nigeria, names like Babatunde (“Reincarnated father”), Yetunde or Iyabo (“Reincarnated mother”), Nnanna (“Reincarnated Grandfather”) and Nnenna (“Reincarnated Grandmother”) are used for Reincarnates of their departed parents or ancestors. (Source
Traditionally the period of strict mourning is a week or can even last a year after the burial of the deceased. During this time the bereaved stays home and do not socialize.
Common Death Rituals:
1) Throwing A Handful of Dirt on the Casket
It is common in many cultures for mourners to toss a handful of dirt on the casket before leaving the cemetery. Rarely do mourners stay to watch the entire casket being buried by the cemetery workers. Throwing the dirt on the grave may symbolize that mourners understand that our bodies return to the earth.
2) Mourning
Mourning is a common ritual when someone dies. The process of mourning and even the amount of crying or wailing differs among cultures. Latin cultures for example, generally cry or wail more emphatically than others. Women cry more than men, possibly due to cultural views that crying might show weakness.

3) The Wake
The wake is a death ritual practiced in many cultures. During the wake, friends or family of the deceased sit with the corpse for several days and nights to watch and mourn. Part of the wake is usually conducted with prayer and scripture.

4) Dressing In Black
Dressing in black for an entire year after the death of a spouse or close family member was common practice for hundreds of years. It is still fairly common and acceptable to wear black or darker colors to the funeral.

5) Funeral Procession
Before the advent of vehicles, mourners walked by foot to follow the pallbearers who were carrying the casket. Today the funeral procession is done by vehicle. The hearse carrying the casket is in front, usually following a police escort.

In many cases a loved one is first transported to a local, or the nearest morgue/ funeral home and then subsequently transported to another city for the memorial ceremonies and/ or burial. If this is the case then it is best to have a local funeral home and one in the final destination city.
When it comes to transporting a loved one it is best to ensure a save and trust worthy method to transport them back home. There will be red tape involved but most funeral homes help with these documentations and arrangements.
At Tough Times Transport we deliver your loved one via our vehicles. Our quality 5-star fleet of Toyota Quantum vehicles will ensure a safe journey to any destination in South Africa and Southern Africa (including Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland).
"We commit ourselves to the utmost professional and respectful treatment of the deceased, the families and our customers."
Take comfort in knowing that you and your loved ones are in the right hands...
 i.     We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, throughout the year.
ii.     We guarantee the transport of the deceased to their final resting place within 24 hours.
iii.     We can assist in taking care of all the legal documentation (required by law) to make the necessary funeral arrangements such as the death certificate etc.
iv.     Our quality 5-star fleet of vehicles consists of Toyota Quantum's, which have been specially converted to accommodate:

A. Full air-conditioning throughout the vehicle.
B. Tinted windows for privacy.
C. Four seats for family members to accompany their loved ones (who have passed on).
D. Four separate compartments that cater for the transport of the deceased.
E. Tracker system for safety of the passengers.

 v.     Our rates are charged on a per quotation basis or at a rate of R5* per kilometer (negotiable).
vi.     An industrial coffin will be supplied, should the coffin not be ready.
vii.     We cover any destination within South Africa as well as select countries in Southern Africa (including Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland).
viii.     Also for a minimum monthly fee per policy holder, our service can be added to any existing insurance product. (* Excluding VAT)
What do we offer?
Repatriation: (Further than 150km)
1. Fleet of Toyota Quantum vehicles.
2. Refrigerated.
3. Separate compartment seating for up to four family members.
4. Allowing for a short prayer within a radius of 50km.
5. Representation throughout South Africa.
6. Cross border Repatriation to all SADEC countries.
7. 24 Hour, 7 days a week, 365 days a year availability.
8. After hour pickups.
9. Live satellite tracking.
10.         R5 million third party insurance.
11.         International repatriations on quotation basis.
 I.     Registration of death.
II.     Assistance with any other relative documentation.
III.     Interaction with Consulates and Dept. of Health for Cross Borders.
IV.     Embalmment in case of cross borders.
 V.     Cold Storage if needed.
VI.     Availability of a range of coffins at a much more reasonable price

Repatriation of Mortal Remains:

Repatriation of Mortal Remains:
When we travel we never think about accidents or even deaths occurring during our travels. When we lose a love one in another country we never know what to do or what procedures to follow to return them back home.

The Department, in collaboration with its Representatives abroad provides logistical assistance and advice to the next of kin next of kin in the event of the death of a South African citizen abroad.
With the help of the department, you will be assisted with obtaining a permit for importing mortal remains from the Department of health. They will assist you with getting into contact with a reputable undertakers and obtaining quotes for the transportation of the mortal remains and/or cremation and/or local burial, if so requested by the next of kin. The Department will also assist with providing information on local conditions and procedures affecting the deceased.
Importing of mortal remains to South Africa:
Strict laws and regulations govern the transportation of moral remains between countries. The requirements:
1.      Non-infectious mortal remains:
a.      The body must be embalmed. This must take place within 24 hours. Not all countries have embalming facilities;
b.      The body must be sealed in an airtight container and placed in a sturdy non-transparent coffin;
c.       The import permit must be obtained prior to transportation.
2.      Infectious mortal remains:
a)      The body must be placed in two a polythene bags;
b)      The body must then be sealed in an airtight container and placed in a sturdy non-transparent coffin;
c)      The coffin must stay sealed at all times;
d)      Along with a together with the death certificate a written statement from the medical practitioner stating that the body will not constitute a danger to public health and that the body is screened off according to regulation o R2438 of 30 October 1987, paragraphs 9 and 10 must accompany the body at all times;
e)      The import permit must be obtained prior to transportation. The South African Representative must provide the following documentation to the Department of Health before an import permit can be issued:
f)       A letter containing:
                                i.            name of the deceased,
                              ii.            date of death, country of death,
                            iii.            cause of death, place of burial,
                             iv.            Telephone and area code.
g)      Embalming certificate
h)      Letter from attending pathologist or medical doctor to state that the deceased did not suffer from an infectious disease at the time of death; OR
i)        If the deceased did suffer from an infectious disease, a letter from the medical practitioner indicating that the transportation will not constitute a danger to public health.
j)        All documents not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation.
Only when all the requirements are met will the Department of Health issue an Import Permit.
No permit is required to import ashes of a cremated body. The National Department of Health requires two working days to issue the importation permit. The following documents are essential for importing (transporting):
1.      A Death Certificate clearly stating the cause of death. A permit will not be issued if the cause of death is unknown. An autopsy report is required in the case of an infectious disease.
2.      ID document / Passport
3.      Embalming Certificate clearly stating in the case of:
·         Non-Infectious: That the remains were embalmed, sealed in an airtight container and placed in a sturdy non-transparent coffin.
·         Infectious: That the remains were embalmed, placed in two polythene bags, sealed in an airtight container and placed in a sturdy non-transparent coffin.
4.      If embalming cannot be done due to religious reasons, a statement of the alternative solution ensuring the safe transport of the remains needs to be included.
5.      A written statement from a medical practitioner that the remains will not constitute a danger to public health.
6.      A non-infectious disease certificate.
7.      Letter from the family member requesting importation.
8.      If the documents are not in English, a certified translation must be attached.
9.      A covering letter from the South African Representative that includes:
Ø  Name of deceased
Ø  Date of death
Ø  Cause of death
Ø  Country of death
Ø  Place of burial
Ø  Full contact numbers including dialing codes
Exporting of mortal remains to South Africa:
This task has been delegated to the Provincial Departments of Health. It also includes the exhumation and exportation of mortal remains.
During times of need it is important to have the support and guidance of close friends and family. There is always a helping hand out there in your time of need, just reach out and grab hold. For more information or a helping hand feel free to visit our website at we will gladly assist you.

Don’t Be Afraid to Tackle the Mental Health Issues Associated with Grief

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Don’t Be Afraid to Tackle the Mental Health Issues Associated with Grief - a touching article by Rev. Wintz

8228719 Dont Be Afraid to Tackle the Mental Health Issues Associated with Grief
Story’s Angel of Grief
Not long ago I was given a book on grief, one of those self-published books that anyone can write and sell on Amazon.  The basic premise being promoted by the author is that grief can “be defeated” if one just has enough faith whatever spiritual religious tradition they embrace.  If one is struggling with grief, the author says, they need to have “increased faith,” and “quit stewing.”  “Too much latitude is encouraged especially in terms of time for grief”, according to the writer.  “One cannot rest in peace if his or her loved ones are stewing in excessive grief.” In other words, the author is saying that if someone is grieving the death of a loved one, he or she simply needs to “get over it.”  That really made me feel angry.
I am a Presbyterian minister, a board certified professional chaplain, and a person with specific expertise in counseling and particularly grief and bereavement.  This particular book’s author, on the other hand, was written by a person who is not educated or credentialed as either a religious leader or a counselor/psychologist.  Yet, the author tells grieving people to choose a faith (or consult a medium – seriously, that’s what is written) in order to “participate” in their grief in a way that “will be shallow and brief.”
I’m also a bereaved parent and even though it has been ten years since the death of our daughter, I still grieve for her.  Grief is a journey and an event that affects our lives forever.  It does not mean we cannot continue to participate in life and find joy, but the reality is that after a loved one’s death we look at life through a different lens.
Recently I read an article in the American Journal of Psychiatry about a study done by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health that revealed that there is a link between sudden grief and the onset of mental health disorders like mania, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression.
The article did not surprise me at all.  Our daughter’s death was sudden and traumatic.  At the time where I was working in a large teaching hospital where every day I was called to the emergency department  to provide care to families whose own loved ones died after car accidents and other traumas.  I found myself feeling overwhelmed.
While my faith in God didn’t waver – I knew God didn’t cause the accident; it was caused by the careless decision of an adult who chose to speed and accelerate through a red light – I sure was angry with God.  I knew that was normal too.  However, it still created a significant amount of spiritual distress along with the emotional distress of grief.
Fortunately, I mentioned this one day in passing when I was with a good friend.  She stopped the conversation and asked me to tell her more.  She gently suggested that while my feelings were normal, I was also showing signs of depression beyond the grief as well as symptoms of post-traumatic stress.  “You’re doing so much to take care of everyone else; you need to take care of yourself.”
Because of her willingness to listen and look for the signs, she was able to see what I couldn’t see for myself.  My grief, which I thought I was managing (“and you are doing so very well,” she said) was something I didn’t need to work so hard to cope with it on my own.  We agreed on a plan: I would go and talk with my family physician, who was just as supportive, and we too agreed on a plan – counseling, a short course of medication, and becoming a participant in a grief support group for a time rather than being a leader of one.
There are times when grief’s accompanying depression, anxiety, emotional and spiritual distress becomes too difficult for the bereaved person to bear.  That’s when the right resources need to be activated.  Families, friends, and co-workers need a basic knowledge of grief in order to normalize the bereaved person’s experience and provide them support.  We also need to understand when a bereaved person needs additional mental health support when the trauma becomes difficult to manage.
That plan didn’t “cure” my grief or take away the sadness that I still carry with me (as the author of the book I read says must happen).  There are times when it comes back with a vengeance.  During most of those grief-bursts I find I can manage with the resources I have in place that work for me:  meditation, exercise, activating my support system – however there have been a couple of times when I’ve gone back to my doctor for help in identifying appropriate short-term interventions.
Of course, there are other examples of mental health issues that we can face in our daily lives.  Stress has been shown through studies to be on the rise due to a number of factors.  Living with a chronic or life-threatening disease, caring for a sick or elderly family member, post-traumatic stress, or dealing with the magnitude of responsibilities one has to make ends meet can all cause emotional and spiritual distress.  Sometimes these lead to mental health issues that need further attention.
I was fortunate that I had a friend, who while not a professional health provider, knew enough about basic mental health ten years ago to recognize that  I was struggling.  She didn’t try to talk me out of my grief, placate me with platitudes, or take the easy way out my ignoring my comments altogether.  Instead, she listened and took the step of faith and friendship to tell me I needed to check in with a professional about what I was feeling.
Knowing the indicators of a potential mental health challenge is something that all of us, professionals and non-professionals alike, need to be aware of.  In fact, it is something that I would urge we set aside time to learn more about.
Educational opportunities are becoming more and more available within our communities and online.  Many are being designed for those who don’t work in professional care fields, but who want to become more informed about mental health issues, what signs need to be looked for, and how to respond.  Check your community organizations, not just mental health centers, but also community colleges who are offering short-term, free, or low-cost programs.
Professionals who encounter mental health situations on a regular basis and those who work with the general public, including educators, health care providers, and religious leaders, need to make learning more a priority of their continuing education.  There are an increased number of programs now available.
Because of what I have learned from my own experience, I have been able to help others by now teaching health professionals what they need to look for in order to care for not only their clients’ bodies and minds, but also their spirits.  Those who are experiencing grief, serious illness, post-traumatic stress, or facing the end of their lives need the understanding, support, and resources necessary not only to cope, but to find meaning and comfort.
Let us not be afraid to talk about, learn more, and recognize mental health issues – not just in those we love, but also in ourselves.  Read.  Take a course.  Be part of the discussion.  Make a difference.