My mother died well over three weeks ago.
She has yet to be cremated.
This is absurd and disgusting and pathetic and insulting and I am really just at a complete loss at this point.

Here’s the email I just received from Dr. Allen Cusack of Cusack Mortuary. (Allen has been kind and gentle and caring throughout this entire process, by the way. I do not think he or his funeral home is to blame for anything here.)

My mistake. He 1 stated that he would sign the death certificate with no problem. Now, I’m wondering what delay is. I have called, the registrar for Volusia County has called and we have known gone over the extension dates, which means he could be fined for not signing it. The mortuary receives an email daily to remind us it needs to be signed which I forward to the health department and we clear ourselves, stating it’s his fault, not ours. If you can/will call the doctor, that may help. 2 So, all three parties are involved hound him, we may get success. 3

1 “He” is Dr. Peele, a doctor who saw my mom perhaps ten times during the last five weeks of her life, who approved the administration of Risperdal, who ignored my repeated attempts to contact him when I learned the nursing home was giving her this drug even though I had refused it on her behalf, who said he didn’t understand why my mother died and refused to sign her death certificate because of that, and who then agreed to sign her death certificate when the office of the Volusia County Medical Examiner refused to do an autopsy.
2 I called Dr. Peele at the only number I have for him — (407) 929-5611 — at 9:05 AM and left my name and number and begged him to please call me.
3 I called Detective Whittier of the Deland Police Department at 7:54 AM and left him a voice mail to express my frustration about this “process” and to ask him if he had any more information, and asked him to please return my call. Then at 7:59 AM I called Dr. Barbara Wolf — the Chief Medical Examiner of District Five, who performed the private autopsy on my mother on August 25th — and left her a voice mail asking if she could think of any reason why Dr. Peele would still have not signed my mother’s death certificate. I also forwarded Allen’s email to my attorney, Steve Phillips, and asked him if he had any idea what I should do now.