Fasten your seatbelts. It's time for a rant. I'm a second generation ranter on this one. My parents could write scathing rants on this topic too.
A student at my son's former high school died recently and when I read the article I was very sad for the family. The boy had died trying to stop his stepfather from abusing his little sister. A horrifying and tragic situation that happens often, I'm afraid. The family is poor. The article about it contained a link to a Go Fund Me page trying to raise $10,000 for the funeral.
That enraged me.
No funeral should cost that much. According to Funeral Tips the average funeral now costs from $7-10,000, which includes:
- fee for the funeral director’s services: $1,500
- cost for a casket: $2,300
- embalming: $500
- cost for using the funeral home for the actual funeral service: $500
- cost of a grave site: $1,000
- cost to dig the grave: $600
- cost of a grave liner or outer burial container: $1,000
- cost of a headstone: $1,500
I'm sorry, but I find this list offensive. The cost for the casket alone is more than I paid for my first car. And what is the end product? A dead body under the ground and a slab of stone above it. If you dug a hole and dumped the body and skipped embalming and putting it in a casket and the funeral and all the rest of it guess what? You would end up with the same result.
Why do you need a "grave liner or outer burial container"? Why do you need to "protect the earth around the casket"? Protect it from what? According to the Natural Burial Company, "These liners prevent or forestall decomposition and keep your body from returning naturally to the Earth." There is a really morbid idea that a lot of people have that dead bodies should be embalmed so they look the same as in life and they don't rot. That's creepy and weird, in my opinion.
What a lot of us don't like to think about is that death is a BUSINESS. Some years ago my mother went into the hospital because she had broken both shoulders. I was horrified to notice that there is a funeral home within walking distance of the hospital. How smart of the funeral home owners to locate there, next to their supply source. There used to be a store in my community selling discount caskets. It was next door to a gun shop. I found that sort of amusing. Now, I would not laugh. Not only is death a business, it's a moneymaking business. A lot of funeral homes have been taken over by big corporations now and they always jack up prices even more when that happens, which is really despicable.
My dad was a trust banker for more than 35 years. He dealt with grieving families a lot. Wills, estates, and trust funds -- death is omnipresent in that area of banking. It used to infuriate him how funeral homes would charge outrageous amounts of money to families who were upset and grieving, and not feeling in the mood to go shopping around for cheaper alternatives.
Funeral homes take advantage of people who are grieving and it's not right.
Cremation is so much more sensible than burial, in my opinion. We cremated Dad. If you want to know more about cremation, this link will come in handy. Although it shouldn't cost much, it can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000.
Whether you pay a fortune for a big funeral or simply cremate the remains, the result is the same. The person is DEAD.
Here's what some people cannot deal with, and I feel sorry for them, because it's the one immutable truth we all have to face: The body is simply a vessel. When the body dies, the soul is gone. Making the body look good and stopping it from decomposing doesn't bring the person back. What I find comforting is the knowledge that the SOUL IS FREE. The soul exists in an alternate place, whether you believe in heaven or hell or limbo or whatever.
To anyone thinking about dealing with the death of someone you love: you really don't want to go into bankruptcy trying to pay ridiculous funeral costs. Explore cheaper options now. The dead don't have to pay bills. Those of us who are left do. We want to remember those who have died with fondness, not anger and frustration.