Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Funeral Director

Yesterday, I stopped in at the funeral home to sign the paperwork. Can anything be so morbid? Or a slap in the face reality check?  I was picking out his casket. Somethings are just easier to do when not blinded by grief...this is one of them. The good Lord knows I've been in that spot too many times.

I've known this funeral director for over 30 years (she's only 47). She went to high school with one of my younger, adopted sisters. Her daddy buried my mother before he got political ambitions. Yep, it's a family run business rather than a corporation run funeral home and it's a dying breed if you'll excuse the pun. I'll deal with independents rather than corporations any day. They are a tad bit more expensive, but the add-on value is fabulous. They have more wiggle room and better customer service. We've used them eight times already for family and more than I can count for friends. I just wish I didn't only see her or her sister when there is a need for their service.
The casket

I knew my hubby wanted a cheap casket. He wants to leave me with as much money as possible from the insurance. Of course.I have other sources of money too upon his death, but I won't go into that here. I asked the funeral director to show me the cheapest besides the pauper's funeral one ( a plain, black, plastic box). She showed it to me, and then I asked to see the next higher one in price. It just so happened to be in my husband's favorite color, blue. It has silver handles and fittings which made for a nice contrast. It was like a gift that was perfect. The difference in price was $300 so I splurged.

The mahogany one in the background has a price of over four grand. While gorgeous, I couldn't justify the price to bury his empty shell. I mean everything I love about my husband will not be in his body anymore.

I've seen television commercial about how expensive burials are, but the final tally shocked me a bit. By the time you add in the flowers, minister fees, organist fees, head stone, etc... my husband's burial will set me back $10 grand. And, I was being modest and thrifty! Put in perspective, that's 1/8 the original cost of my house. I'm not complaining, mind you, but still. It's a one shot deal.

The burial plot was free, thank goodness, because we are members of the church. We had chosen ours to be by his parents at the time of their death. The only cost involved is a maintenance fund but that's for the entire cemetery. This fund is huge because some of the graves go back to the 1700's. As a historical landmark, the church is also entitled to State funds to preserve it. But it is private and open to church members only. I decided long ago that I wanted to be cremated so to save expenses when I die, but my husband has a different mindset. Lord knows, I don't want to be haunted by his angry spirit after he's gone. So the funeral is set just waiting on him to draw his last breath.

Each time he wakes up, I'm greeted with a cheery, "Hi ba-by! I love you!" It doesn't matter if it was five minutes earlier and he'd drifted off to sleep in between, or hours. Although his speech is slurred and marked with aphasia, I understand every word. He has such a peaceful smile on his face once the pain is deadened. I almost envy him. It's taking almost 70-80 mgs of morphine every couple of hours to maintain that serenity now. Angels are whispering in his ear. One of these times, he will go with them. But everything that can be prepared in advance is finally finished. Now I just answer him back with my own "Hi! I love you" and meaning every word.

5 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You have everything set. Just enjoy those final moments with him.

Zan Marie said...

Now rest, Jo. You've done all you can do at this time. {{{hugs}}}

Diane said...

Oh Jo -- I keep checking your blog to see if--- well you know -- this has got to be so very hard.

Love the cheery "Hi baby, I love you"'s. Means so darn much.

Know I'm thinking of you, hang in there, sweetie.

J.L. Murphey said...

No rest for the weary unfortunately. And, to think I might even miss the diaper and sheet changes. I had to call in reinforcement tonight. After changing him I realized that he was laying in a puddle of urine. This was his one and only output for the day. My arms were like rubber and quit working. Both of them. My daughter who works for hospice drove 45 minutes to get here in her pajamas to help me. My hubby has started lapsing into semi-comatose state. I can only hope that he lasts long enough for our baby girl to get here Thursday.

Zan Marie said...


And more {{{{hugs}}}}