The grieving sister of a young DJ and musician wants a change in the law after a mourner took a photo of her brother’s body as it lay in an open coffin and shared it on Facebook.
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Gemma Williams, 22, removed the sheet covering 21-year-old Michael Dene Ray at the funeral parlour and placed a friendship bracelet on his wrist. She then took a photo of his hand next to hers which wore an identical bracelet, and shared the image to Facebook as a ‘tribute’.
Michael’s sister Charley-Anne Semple, 25, wasn’t best pleased when the photo showed up on her newsfeed, and says it was taken without the family’s consent (besides the thoughtless move of sharing it on social media):
I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. It literally shocked us and devastated us and it’s still so upsetting today.
I was outraged, and it made the whole grieving process so much harder.
She didn’t even protect his dignity, she just went on to move his body and uncover him in order to take the photo.
We feel completely disrespected as a family that we gave people the opportunity to grieve for Michael Dene and it was thrown back in our faces.
He was laid to rest so he was in peace, not so people could go along taking pictures of him like some sort of attraction.
However Gemma says she bought the bracelets so a part of her would go with her friend to the grave and doesn’t see much wrong with what she did.
Michael’s sister is now campaigning for the banning of photography at funeral parlours and has managed to get the photo removed from Facebook. Gemma meanwhile plans to put the photo on a T-shirt and wear it at a party to celebrate his birthday…
Fucking give it a rest will you Gemma? I mean we all have our own process when it comes to mourning. Some of us open up and grieve together while others prefer to close down and grieve alone. Some of us go out and get trashed, others get stuck right back in with work and normal life. Whatever helps you get through it. What you definitely shouldn’t do though is share a picture of the dead body in its coffin on Facebook. It’s just a bit weird, not to mention insensitive. Even without the part about sharing it on Facebook. Just ‘no taking photos of your dead friends’ as a general rule I think is a good idea.
For the story of a man who staged his own death just to see how many people would turn up to his funeral, click HERE.