One day.. He really will reach out for me.
This is a time of year when my thoughts tend to turn toward loved ones that have passed on, and thoughts of what happens to us when we leave this place. Or if we really "leave" at all. I mull these thoughts around in my head from time to time, wrestling with exactly what I think becomes of us at that moment - and if there's any reason for me to think the way I do.
- But that's the subject of an entirely different post that I may make one day.
A more concrete concern for me right now, as a living breathing person, is the mess that my loved ones might have to deal with due to my passing one day. Namely: What do they do with me when my spirit is done hanging around?
As I'm thinking along these lines, I see that Walmart is getting into the Casket business. When I looked at the offerings online, it looked like they had 14 different casket models ranging from $895 to $2899. Here's the "Bronze Sienna" model, that represents the higher end of that scale.
Pretty - but its whole purpose is to be buried in the ground where no one will (hopefully) see it again, so I just don't see the point. It's my understanding that if you buy a casket from most funeral homes, the average price is even higher that Walmart's "top of the line" model.
Add to that the expense of a funeral plot, care for the plot, the funeral expenses... the total expense involved for dealing with a loved one's death can be ridiculous. All at a time when the bereaved are least equipped to deal with it.
Don't get me wrong... you should realize at this point that I'm a huge admirer of cemetery art and graveyard memorial.
I can, and do, spend hours wandering around in old cemeteries.
Some part of me really WANTS there to be a lasting, physical memorial with my name on it. Something that will hold my memory in this place long after I'm gone. Even if it is just in the mind of a photographer walking the lonely paths of some old, spooky graveyard.
But... when I think of the financial cost for this kind of vanity, I pull up short. Just not worth it, in my opinion. My passing will be hard enough on whatever family that I have still living at the time. I don't want to add the financial burden of a modern funeral on top of all the other stress.
I've begun seriously thinking about cremation, at one of the pre-paid places that doesn't provide any of the other expensive frills. Someplace like this. Looking at their website, for $795 they will pick up the deceased from the hospital, provide "containers", transport to the crematory, cremate the remains, give the ashes to the family, and file the death certificate.
Not too frilly, but seems pretty complete for the price to me. This is something that I could pay for next week - and then all my Mrs would have to do is make one phone call after I'm gone and the hassle is done with. I like that thought. Gives me more comfort than the thought of any big fancy funeral would. If I can save them just a little bit of the stress associated with my death - why wouldn't I jump at the chance?
My main concerns:
1. I'm not planning on checking out any time soon. Assuming that I pre-pay now, I don't have any assurance that this place (or any other) will still be in business way down the road when I eventually shuffle off the mortal coil. I really like the aspect of having everything decided and paid for before I go - so that my family just makes a single phone call and everything happens by itself - but I have to make sure the company is going to be here for them at the moment they are needed.
2. What to do with the ashes afterward. My Mrs has said she wants the same after-life arrangment that I come up with, whatever that might be. She wants to hold on to my ashes, assuming that I die first, until she passes away. Then she doesn't so much care what happens to our ashes, as long as it happens to the both of us.
I DO NOT want my daughter to get saddled with a couple of ash filled urns marked Mom and Dad... that's creepy, even for me :)
All this may seem terribly morbid and depressing for some folks -But the way I see it, a little foresight and planning on my part can make a huge difference for the ones I love after I'm gone.
So... what are YOUR final plans?