Thursday, 8 May 2008
Taking Care Of Business
Talking to Angelique on the phone Monday morning and I tell her where I was earlier. Nathan walks by and says “Mom next time it is a beautiful day, why don’t you go for a walk in the park instead of sitting all morning in a funeral home.” Angelique on the phone hears and says “No shit.” We all burst out laughing.
Anyway, Monday morning I spent at Desjardins Funeral Home. I am preparing funeral arrangements so that it will be less work for my family.
This is my second time going as I went in May last year. I plan to make this an annual event, just too fine tune and also to get use to the place. Last year when I went I felt a little chocked. This year it felt much more like business and really just something that needs to be done.
There are already different things I found out this year than I knew last year. For example I found out from my friend Flo that I can get a cremation box (cardboard) for $15 whereas last year they told me the cheapest one was $740 (pressboard).
I will share with you what I learned.
Flashback May, 2007
I get Jacquie to drop me off at Desjardins because I have an appointment with the funeral director for 9 a.m. She does not want me to go alone, but that is the only way I am going.
When I first entered it was still dark and there was no one around. I peek in doorways and all of a sudden a lady comes out who has to bend in the doorway because she is about 7 feet tall. Scared the shit out of me. She is the funeral director and her name is Lynette.
We start the meeting and talked about why I am there. I felt a little teary when I said I was there for myself, but I reminded myself that I was just taking care of business and got my self together. I had also met with the priest previously, so I knew what I wanted done.
She takes me downstairs and we enter the casket room. For some reason I still thought the caskets would be a little further into the room but they are jam-packed in the room, right at the entrance. It gave me the creeps because I always hated that quilted lining in a casket.
I see the cremation caskets and I also look at the urns. At the time I thought I might want a niche in the wall so she said that you can’t have a wooden urn because they dissolve and the cemetery doesn’t allow that. But now I know I don’t want to be in a wall, so I am looking at a bio-degradable urn or a wooden one so that it can rot and I will be ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
I am there for about three hours.
Flash Forward May 5, 2008
Meet with Lynette for 9 a.m. More relaxed this time around and we go through the papers and I ask my questions. I even got a beautiful pen out of the deal which apparently is a prize for the family when they are grieving.
Costs of a funeral:
Arrangements: $840 now is $940
Transfer of body from hospital: $215 now is $265
Staff (four people): $495
Preparation for identification: $220
Basic facility: $295 now is $195 (actually went down)
Cremation fee: $460 now is $485
Lead car (for priest, flowers, urn, etc): $125
Limousine for family: $225
Casket for cremation: $760 pressed board now is $15 for cardboard
Urn: $760 for pewter now is $460 for wood (not sure on amount of biodegradable box)
Guest book, 50 thank you cards, and crucifix: $195
*Memorial cards: $1.75 per card ($425)
*Luncheon sandwiches: $10 per person ($3,000) heard other places charge $5 per person
*Luncheon tea and coffee: $1.50 per person now $1.75 per person ($425)
Two hostesses: $250
*Based on 300 people.
Burying someone is an expensive endeavour. The funeral based on around 300 people attending would be about $7,720. Not including taxes, church costs, priest, death certificates, other papers needed, or cemetery costs.
Looks like I should have worked harder in the salt mines and earned more money.
The cemetery is a whole other matter too. I went to the ones in my area last year and I am going to revisit in a few weeks.
Some things I know for sure at this point:
Do not want to die at home.
Rosary said in hospital room after I die or while I am dying.
Cremation with $15 cardboard box (do not upgrade this).
No public viewing.
Funeral at Holy Family Church (full mass with incense and holy water).
Lots and lots to do in preparation for a funeral that I hope I won’t be attending for years and years and years and years.