Having coordinated 3 family funerals now, I have to say I've learned a thing or two.
When dad died, we simply went to the local, closest funeral home to pick up and have his body cremated. We did a church memorial at the church of his visiting pastor. We did our own program, friends spoke and we hired a guitarist. In 1998 the cost of cremation was about $1100, the church was a $300 donation and the music was about $100 and another $200 for flowers and the printed program. So, on our thin budget it was about $1700. Which at the time was sort of tough on us as we had to pool our funds to get it paid for [us 3 kids and mom]. I had his ashes waiting for mom.
5 years later our mother passed. This time we actually had some time to make plans, and found out that you can go directly to the crematorium to have a body cremated. A local mortician, picked up the body, and delivered the ashes the next day. It was only $600. So with dad's body we paid $400 extra to have the funeral home drive over to the same crematorium and literally do what the other guy did.
Now we had mom and dad's ashes. We planed to spread their ashes on the hill behind their house overlooking the ocean. We simply called all their friends and our families and everyone showed up, very informal. We brought some flowers and everyone had a chance to say a few words and their farewells. It was lovely. Cost. About $40 in flowers. It was personal and quite a nice send off. It was a much more pleasant experience... I mean by comparison to the first... not that funerals are pleasant.
My brother passed away a few months ago. 350 miles away in San Francisco. We had no idea of where to start. So I called the place who cremated my mother. Explained my situation and he found us the best deal up there, a family operated outfit that was able to pick his body up from the hospital, process all the paperwork, cremate him and hold his ashes for pick up 3 weeks later. Cost about $1000. [This is 6 years after our mother died.] He requested that his ashes be spread at the Channel Islands, which we have yet to do. We have a sea captain in the family so we'll simply have to pay for the gas and food for the day.
When I hear of people paying $5k $10k or even higher for a funeral, I can't think how expensive that is, and that this is why funeral parlors are so well off.
Death and dealing with a departed loved one is never easy, but its no reason to shell out more money than is necessary for a respectful and lovely funeral. Know that there are alternatives.
Burying a body is a whole other subject, and since we've not gone that route, I can't speak on it.
I heard on the news today that Walmart is going to sell caskets.... don't know if that's true, but certainly they would be the low cost option.
Blessings, Max Rainet.
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