During the holidays, we had a party at our home with about 40 people in attendance. A few of the older folks got to talking about funerals and cremation, and since I am in “the business”, they wanted answers to their questions. So, I asked them want the wanted to know about. I thought they would ask about grieving and laws and what do you do when someone dies, and a couple of people did have such questions. However, most wanted to know how much a funeral cost now days, and how much would they have to spend to have a nice funeral.
I told them a nice funeral, or a traditional funeral, is what takes place at the funeral home. When a person passes, they contact their funeral home of choice and give permission for the body to be picked up. In the business, this is called a removal. Then an arrangement conference is set, either the same day or the next day, with a funeral director (Calumet Park Funeral Chapel at 219-636-5840 or Rendina Funeral Home at 219-980-1141) where you will decide on what you would like your final goodbye to look like. You would provide the information necessary to have a death certificate issued, pick out a casket, register book and prayer cards, set up the obit, coordinate with the cemetery of record, clergy, vet groups etc. and set up the times and dates for visitation and for the funeral service followed by the committal to the final resting place.
This usually runs, on average, around $8,000 to $10,000 depending on the casket choice. I told them that they could have a simple, direct cremation with no extras for around $2,000. And if that was what they wanted, three or four days later they would have to go back to the funeral home to pick up the ashes, or cremains. Heads were nodding their acknowledgement, with a couple exclaiming they can’t afford to die. “What else?” they asked.
I told them there are the cemetery expenses to consider. I told them that Calumet Park has so many different choices, from simple ground burial in a single grave that is free on a pre-need basis up to estate lots and even private mausoleums. I explained community mausoleums, where groups of like-minded people share in the cost of building a large complex and then their investment gives them the right to be permanently entombed in a crypt there. “Sort of like a condo?” asked one of the party goers. (Fun Christmas party conversation, eh?) I explained that there are charges called opening and closing of the final resting place, and for ground burial, they would need an outer container called a vault in which to place the casket during the burial or interment, or for placing a loved one in the above ground crypt space. One of inquisitors was a veteran, so I mentioned that we have a lot of freebies and discounts for honorably discharged vets. He liked that idea.
Opening and closing has a great deal that is involved it in order to ensure the proper grave is used, paperwork, computer entry, laying out the grave space with a triple check system, digging of the grave, setting up a tent and chairs when the weather permits, completing the burial after the gathering at the grave, and eventually, seeing to it that the grass is planted to bring the individual broken soil up to the standards of the beautiful grass covering that makes up the 160 developed acres at Calumet Park.
“What about gravestones? Are they included?” I told them that there were different kinds of gravestones. The ones that stand up so you can see them from a distance are called monuments, and they run a pretty penny, depending on the size chosen. Then, there are flush granite and flush bronze on granite markers, so it all depends on what a person wants. My best answer to their money questions was that it runs around $12-$15,000 for everything, and that the best thing they could do for themselves would be to go to their funeral home or cemetery of choice and sit with someone. I told them that our Family Service Counselors are always available to answer questions and to help them design their funeral and that service is free. If they choose to prearrange, Calumet Park will finance with no credit checks, no turn-downs, and no interest payments with 10% down.
“Would I have to do everything at once?” asked a sweet little lady. I told her and the rest of the group that the only time you have to do it all at once is when you wait til you die. And then, you won’t be doing any of it. You will just leave a mess for those you love to have to deal with, and if you or they don’t have the money, then there will be a lot of settling for less than you would have chosen if you had a say in it.
Well, we went on to more fun things, but I will tell you, the reader, what I told them: “It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. It being your final wishes prearranged. Call 219-769-8803 now to see how much it might cost for you?