Fact: we will all die. What then?

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St. Paddy’s Day is just around the corner.  There will be stories on the news about all things green, from the Chicago River to shamrocks to hats and beer.  McDonald’s will even sell you a green milkshake in honor of everyone’s saint.  Leprechauns and rainbows and a pot of gold are part of the folklore, and a cartoon character will tell you of the fun your kids will have eating Lucky Charms, and he will do it in an Irish brogue.

The temptation is there for me to tell you all about my own Irish heritage, and the history of the Irish, from the potato famine to U2, the rock group that calls Ireland home.  Instead, I am going to be straight forward with you and tell you what you will be facing, from a practical perspective, when death hits you and yours between the eyes.  Sadly, death pays no attention to the calendar.  The obituary pages always have a fresh batch of names, whether it is a non-descript day in August to Christmas to Easter to St. Patrick’s Day…when your unlucky day arrives, someone will have some very tough and expensive decisions to make with little to no time in which to make them.

Generally speaking, within 24 hours of a death, someone will have to meet with a funeral director and then with a cemetery representative, if final placement of the loved one’s mortal remains are to be at a cemetery.  There will be many, many decisions to make that those who thought it silly or impractical to pre-plan will be forced to make.

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Some, but certainly not all, questions will be:

What funeral home to use?  What cemetery?  Should there be a traditional funeral service with visitation, or a visitation followed by cremation, or a direct cremation, or a direct burial?  What kind of casket, wood or metal?  What clothing will be needed for both the deceased and for the immediate family for the funeral service?  At the cemetery, should you buy a single grave, a family lot, a crypt or some other choice for final placement of your loved ones human remains?  Do you want to be in a monument section, or flush memorial section?  What paperwork will I need?

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I could go on and on, way past the attention span of most readers.  At the end of the process of getting everything ready for the funeral, you will be asked for a certain amount of money.  Last year, the average funeral and cemetery expenses were between $12,000 and $20,000 depending on your needs.  And, here is the extra scary consideration…at the time of need, it is always cash.  Some funeral homes may allow payment from an insurance assignment, but all insurance companies don’t allow insurance assignments.  Even in cases that an insurance assignment is allowed, most funeral homes will have you sign a promissory note that elicits your promise to pay within a certain period, especially to allow for those cases that the insurance will not pay for a whole host of reasons.

You can prevent this added stress and anxiety by meeting with Calumet Park Cemetery and Funeral Chapel.  All it takes is a simple call to 769-8803 to set up an appointment to visit with one of our professional Family Service Counselors who will answer all of your questions.  There is no obligation for you to gather information.  If you are in a position to prearrange, you can do some or all of your arrangements at that visit, or get back with us at your convenience.  There is no high pressure in any way during these visits.  The high pressure comes when you wait until the time of need is upon you, and then you must scramble to find the funds to provide the services that you know your loved one would have wanted.

When you make your arrangements before the time of need, you have the added benefit of being able to make monthly payments with zero interest for up to five years.  There are no credit checks, and no credit turndowns, so you are instantly the big winner.  If you do not own cemetery property, we will give you a free space valued at $950 or you can use that amount as a credit for any other property of greater value.

For some people that like to do a little research on line before they get with a real person, the internet is filled with facts.  In fact, you can visit our website at www.calumetparkcemetery.com or find us on facebook at mycalumetpark where you can gather all kinds of helpful information in the comfort of your own home.  If I can be of any service, feel free to call and ask for me and I will be more than happy to help you in any way that I can.

So, if you were hoping to find green fluff here in honor of St. Paddy’s Day, I am sorry to disappoint you.  However, if you want some “in your face truth” about what it takes to make arrangements, contact us at once and let us be of service to you.  Even if you only take the free space, you will be ahead of the game and you will have $950 less of an expense when the god-awful day comes that you are forced to meet with a funeral director on their terms instead of yours.

By Daniel G. Moran, GM at Calumet Park Cemetery and Funeral Chapel

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