Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Simplicity

 

Professionally I seem to be liaising more and more with companies that provide cheap, simple cremations. 
Slick, and for the most part professional, they certainly seem to have taken advantage of a gap in the market where minor celebrities like Debbie McGee reinforce that you can have a funeral for the cost e of a cup of coffee a week whilst earning a voucher for Marks and Spencer’s all at the same time.
In this time of austerity, spending thousands on a funeral is no longer a luxury many can now afford but I have concerns that these “ faceless” companies could be having a detrimental effect of how we grieve rather who we grieve for.
Getting a funeral right, is a difficult objective for any family as grief can often be fickle, laced with anger and intensely personal in nature. 
The more modern trend for a well chosen eulogies, music , green burials, are complications from the formal “norms ” but at least personal touches often give loved ones the time and space to grieve. 
Funerals are only really important to the living.
Cheap cremations will work for some and not others.

I’m just concerned that financial prudence is taking over from the healthy need to be able to say a proper goodbye to a loved one 

43 comments:

  1. Cheap fast, no muss no fuss, toss the ashes or scatter...best result. Mourning goes on funeral or not.
    I hope you feel okay after your allnighter, post covid?

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    1. Second night tonight , feeling better x

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  2. Funerals, as you say, are for the living. A chance to reminisce and begin to accept. I hope, when my time comes, my children will just do whatever helps them. After all, I won't know anything about it! I hope your symptoms are finally abating. xx

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    1. Yes it’s all really about the living

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  3. Ever since my dad died in 2000, I've told my family I want to be cremated with a "Celebration of Life" gathering instead of a funeral or memorial service. It wasn't about the expense (although that would be a factor), but about less overall angst at a time of mourning.

    He was buried in a cemetery near where he and my mom lived at the time. Her name and birthdate are also on his headstone, as she'd planned to be cremated and buried with him. But she remarried. When that husband died, he was buried next to his 1st wife. My mom now lives 1300 miles away from that area. No one lives there anymore to visit the gravesites. So... my thought has been, "What's the point?" --Elise

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    1. I think I’m conceited enough to want a headstone
      But why? It’s only the theatrical gay in me that needs one

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  4. I like the idea of cheap and simple. You can always have a memorial gathering of some sort — drinks, a picnic, a day at the beach. So many options without having Liza Minelli perform (yeah, I went to a funeral in San Diego in the ’90s for a Broadway chorus boy who wrote his requirements for his funeral). His ex fulfilled them all. And Liza sang. It was strange — and, sorry to say, but he had an ego the size of New York City.

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    1. Lisa at your funeral
      Well you couldn’t get any gayer!

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  5. I think one should have spent time with people in their latter years and helped whilst they were alive. I don't go to funerals as there is too much show boating and hypocrisy for me.
    As for paying for a funeral it's a mugs game. The state pay or someone does as I have never seen a corpse left topside to just rot away.

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    1. PS. Only on Everest and in the oceans where no one notices.

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    2. I agree and the world is full of shoulda, coulda woulda
      But I always think if it gives solace to someone why not

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  6. It's a mine field for me at the moment as my father initially left his body to the medical school. That got changed and now he want a direct cremation and memorial service.
    My mother is deeply religious and wants at least a blessing? or whatever but not bothered about a burial.
    Aged 97 and 90.
    I will look forward to them changing their minds' again...

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    1. Like I said funerals are often for the living

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  7. I have decided and already filled out the paperwork to be taken to a body farm in my beautiful North Carolina mountains. My family knows and accepts this. They just ask for a celebration of life so friends and family can join together and share memories. I am fine with whatever they do as I hope to be propped against a tree enjoy the view till the body farm is finished with me and I am cremated and scattered. The cost is only the transport of my body to the body farm. My daughters can use my life insurance for themselves.

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    1. The body farm is a title of a book which scared me , so immediately my back went up at the thought of it.
      Funny that
      As you describe …sat up against a tree…sounds wonderful

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    2. I read that book by Patricia Cornwell. It was scary but I liked it enough to read ger other books. lol The body farm I chose is associated with Western Carolina University (where I attended many years ago)in the beautiful Appalachian mountains. I find it calming knowing I will get to just be for a time after death.

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  8. As a funeral celebrant, I am very keen that people understand their choices. So often funeral directors lead them down a well-worn path; they book a crematorium and a date and then book me, so it's too late to suggest alternatives. In the UK we are fixated on having a coffin at the centre of things. Why not have a service at the care home, so all their friends can be present? Why not have it at a village hall, or their favourite pub, or social club? There's no reason the coffin can't be taken to these places, but better to my mind is a direct cremation followed by a genuine celebration of life. Then you're not restricted by a time slot, and forced to sit in a dreary (sometimes) chapel.
    It's interesting that, presumably, you are dealing with people who have had time to think about their death and who have chosen this option.
    I'm not criticising funeral directors, and if you want big black limousines, top-hat-and tails, and lots of formality (and many people do) then that costs; they have huge overheads. And I'm also aware that some people don't want an informal 'celebration'; they want a sombre occasion of mourning.
    I think saying goodbye in the right way, whatever that is, is so important. But I do wish people had more time to think about alternative options.

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    1. Points well made
      I’ve been to a funeral in the village hall and it worked beautifully
      I’ve also been to some great funeral where the celebrant has made an effort to get under the skin of the deceased , bringing their death into life so to speak.
      We are governed by conventions and by ritual and forget that we can make our own rituals

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  9. At a very vulnerable time in people's lives, many funeral companies prey on the grief and guilt of the family by pushing unnecessary and grossly overpriced options. The whole industry needs to be much, much more tightly regulated, in my opinion.

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    1. A point well made…though prey is not the word I’d like to use but I guess you are right…..I think most people are cottoning on to the fact that funerals even burials etc can be prepaid much cheaply , with all sorts of deals and discounts now

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  10. It's direct cremation for me John. I'll leave some money for a bit of a knees up and I've picked the spot where I want my ashes scattering.

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    1. And you have kept control and are getting what you want. I think I’m thinking of those that feel they ought to act in a certain way or families that can’t organise what they want because of cost

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  11. I don't want a big funeral. Just cremate me and my kids can scatter my ashes in a place that reminds them of me. They can gather to share stories and jokes about me but nothing fancy.

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  12. Well said John. Absolutely agree with you.

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  13. I could write a lengthy tomme on this. Try to do what helps those who mourn, find peace. As for me, roll me off the side of the road and let the critters feast, throw a party and with a slide show with a few thousand of the photos I have taken over five-decades. Play Jimmy Buffett's greatest hits.

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    1. I used to have a fixed and rather indulgent view on my own funeral
      That has certainly changed over the past couple of years

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  14. When my Dad received his diagnosis of terminal cancer and six weeks to live, he went out and booked his cremation. He swore if we changed any of the details he would come back and haunt us.

    Long story short, he lived another six months, planned his "Celebration of Life" and said his Goodbyes.

    He's scattered in Scotland and the Fraser River where he loved to fish.

    We've done the same, booked cremations and told our sons not to change anything, the money would be better used by them to enjoy life.

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    1. That’s the therapeutic part of having control

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  15. Funerals. Regardless of the cost, like everybody, I've been to a few. Saying goodbye, in my view, happens long before the funeral and is very personal and private. The funeral process sometimes is very showy. I've seen people show up out of the blue...out of respect or friendship and sometimes for both. It is an odd mix. I had one person say they came for the dinner. Another person, introduced herself and thanked me for the Harvard education my relative paid for. For me, funerals are always a learning experience.

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    1. For many it’s a milestone to endure and get through,
      For others it’s an event which brings some closure .
      I’m no expert it’s horses for courses

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  16. Money better spent another way in my opinion.
    Medical school will take my body cremate when finished with me and turn over to my family. Hoping they can find a cure for something or another with my remains.
    Could be the next pandemic answer in my remains at least the Dr. / scientist to study me could go on to be crucial in some way to health.

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    1. I’ve always wanted my own burial plot, but for whom? No one will visit ….so cheap and cheerful for me

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  17. I did see an ad' recently that made cremation seem more like a party than a saying of goodbye.

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  18. For me it would be a direct cremation with ashes returned to family. Then a simple family gathering at home which we would have put together ourselves hopefully. I see it more as a time for them to just be together to cry and laugh and move on in a way. But just them, as I remember how I felt at my father's more traditional funeral.

    Completely agree with you your thoughts and those of Ellen D. and Athene.

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  19. I'd be quite happy to donate my body to the local 'waste to energy' plant for free and help with electricity generation on my way out.
    I fancied the idea of being buried simply under a tree, but then that became trendy and expensive; sadly no longer an option.

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  20. My Mum has already signed up with Pure Cremations and tells me ever week about her wishes that no one comes to her funeral, no advert is to go in the newspaper and no relatives are informed etc etc. I am trying slowly and surely to winkle in the little extras that I just KNOW are necessary. The small afternoon tea for all her friends in the residents lounge, arranging a meal or buffet at a later date for family that WILL want a get together but that she will know nothing about. As you say there is a NEED to say goodbye and these funerals do not always encompass that. What they do do is split the cost, which will end up being pretty similar by the time I have paid for the meal for family, the food and drinks for her friends etc. etc.

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  21. As we live next door to a cemetery, my daughter suggests just tipping me over the fence at the appropriate time. Little sod.
    Me, I think a direct cremation and let the living decide on the remembrance. If they want.

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  22. Before my dad died, he asked that we not hold any kind of funeral service. So we had him cremated and shared our memories within the family over several dinners and that was that. I thought it was a pretty smart way to go.

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  23. I want nothing more than a cheap funeral. I believe I will reside in the thoughts of the living and not in the remains or the ground they are buried beneath.

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  24. Rituals mean a lot to people, but sometimes we need to gently be reminded there are other options.

    I enjoy going to a cemetery and reading the old tombstones, but I don't see the point in spending over 10K on a funeral these days. Especially when you do not have that kind of cash.

    Have you ever watched Ask a Mortician on You Tube? Caitlin is fantastic. She is founder of The Order of the Good Death, which is about death acceptance and natural burial.
    You should read her book: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory. Very eye opening about the funeral industry and what life changing event brought her to where she is today.

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