Shopping No One Wants To Do


Shopping No One Wants To Do

escalator-283448_640What kind of shopping would this be? Um, shopping for funeral arrangements.

I know, if you follow tradition, you go with who your family has always used. Well, as we all know, caregiving can put a pinch on our finances, especially if there isn't ample life insurance to spend freely. When Mom passed, we followed tradition and went with the local funeral home with the polished marble floors and ornate furnishings. Honestly, that place looks like it could be an addition on the Biltmore House. All of her family had always "been there" and she expected the same. I knew this and didn't think to do anything different.

Fast forward six years down the road in caregiving with our finances strapped and Dad having probably just enough insurance to put himself away (he had more on her). This past weekend I had the experience of dealing with "the other" funeral home in town, as Mom always said. Honestly, I had never met anyone as kind and compassionate to my family. I was very touched because the survivors, brothers of a distant cousin who passed, had nothing. I know this. She had no life insurance and they were at their wit's end. They were able to get a few donations, yes, including from me because family is first and I felt so sorry for them. The funeral director there made up the difference. All I could think of was how he took the time out of his Sunday to handle the memorial service, even staying afterward with the family to share in the meal. You don't find a lot of people like that now in this materialistic society.

In the back of my mind, I've been wrestling with "shopping" for years now. Yes, I know it should have already been done. I just didn't want to do it. I'm at the point now (with Dad nearing 90) that I feel I need to do it to make myself feel better. But who wants to shop for this? NO one!! if you have any sense.

After talking with my daughter last night I told her I wanted to go to this other funeral home and see what they offered. I can tell you I was treated with such kindness and respect. I felt like a burden was lifted from me when I left, so I know I made the correct decision. But why the focus now? Well, several times this last week, Dad has started mentioning leaving and going home. We know he's home, but he means HOME. His Heavenly home. He wants his clothes, his shoes, to get himself together and go see my Mama. I know he's tired, and lonely, and he misses Mom terribly. I guess at the age he is now that's what he longs for. I'm not ready to give him up. Don't know that I ever will be. But I do know he's ready and focused on where he's going.

And, since this (ahem) shopping trip is now out of the way, I can focus on just enjoying the sweet time I have left with him.

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You are a smart woman Lisa, and even if it is the shopping no one wants to do, eventually it is the shopping everyone has to do. When my MIL died, nearly 40 years ago, I was (to put it mildly) horrified when the funeral director took my shattered husband aside and directed him to an expensive casket commenting how his father would appreciate the metal (his dad was a tinsmith) and that the pink satin would look wonderful with his mother's red hair. WHAT??? Being the practical, curmudgeon I quickly asked about the lowest price casket available. Hubby was in graduate school, his parents had been retired for years, where did they think the money was coming from? I felt then as I do now, preparing for a loved ones funeral should be about compassion and respect. I am so glad you decided to visit \"the other\" funeral home and found such caring and helpful people. You are indeed in good hands, and you can focus now on the living and loving of your father.


Lisa, I'm glad you did this \"shopping\". Although we knew for years that we should have done it we didn't. We also couldn't afford to do the elaborate funeral similar to what my FIL had. We did the shopping after MIL died. The worst part was that it felt really strange to bargain shop and knowing my MIL she would have been mortified that we did this. But there was no life insurance and the money wasn't there. I also knew there would be only a handful of people come to her service. We got lucky and found a guy, who was genuine, realized our situation, and even made calls while we were in the office with him to price out of state vendors (where she would be transported to for burial). He made us feel at ease with the \"cheap\" route, and wasn't phony, feigning sympathy and pushing for more expensive stuff (as I've witnessed before). He was understanding. Just what we needed.