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.


Anonymous said...

Renee you are such an incredable sister, my heart breaks at just the very thought of one day losing you,I love you so much, I am at a loss for words I pray God will not let you use this for a LONG LONG TIME

Deanna said...


All I can say is that in the spirit of some of your previous blogs..."B" is for bravery.


Mickey said...

What a wonderful mother you are for your children you always have such an incredible sense of humor. I pray that you are here for a long long time yet as losing you will be unbearable for all the people who love you. I love you so much and my heart breaks when I think of you not being here with us. Deanna is so right B is for Bravery. You are absolutly amazing.

jacquie said...

john lennon ...imagine..

i can't imagine life without you

i won't imagine life without you while you are still with me

L is for love
love is an action word
you don't have to do this alone

Deborah said...

Oh love, this makes me sad, amazed, impressed, and a million other feelings all at once. You are a double B ... Beyond Brave.

The cost is astounding. You should put a "donate" button on your blog. Gosh I hope you think that was funny. I adore you. Love, Deb