Making Sense of Pre-planning a Funeral

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In 1988, I helped my first family with prearranging their cemetery property.   It was with a nurse and her husband, and she died shortly thereafter. She didn’t know that she was ill when we sat down and discussed her options, or at least she didn’t share her condition with me or with her husband. When he came in to sign the final papers the day after her death, we were both in a state of shock. His shock was understandable from anybody’s perspective, having just lost his wife at a relatively early age. But mine…my shock was more from the point of view of “Holy Smokes, people really do need this stuff, and the “when” is purely up to them as to when arrangements should be made.” She showed a lot of courage to come in and get things taken care of herself and her husband, and not leave it up to anyone else.

Twenty seven years later and it takes a lot to shock me now. After you have shared so much with so many people for so many years, it feels like all the ways to die have passed through my heart. I still cry with people, and some say that is not totally professional, but I cannot see these people as “business”. I see the pain and the loss and the confusion. I cannot know how they feel and yet I have watched so many people go numb as they waded through the challenge of making cemetery and funeral arrangements right after tragedy is crushing the joy from their soul…

In all of these years and with all the families that have prearranged for a funeral, I have never had one family say to me that they wish they hadn’t prearranged. It is such a gift to have everything taken care of in advance; and paid for. Questions about burial, or cremation, or crypts, graves, niches, caskets, vaults, and so much more can be decided upon from a perspective of being of sound mind when you seek help before a time of need.   This is in direct contrast with those who think they are invincible so they won’t need it at all, or too young and won’t need cemetery arrangements for years to come, or old and willing to thrust the decisions and cost upon their kids, or other family, Or sadly, if nobody has the money, they are ok leaving the state (all of us as tax-paying citizens) to pay for their funeral.

There is a part of a wedding ceremony when the priest or minister gets the man and the woman to agree to some pretty incredible promises to love, cherish, obey etc. til death do they part. Unspoken but also part of a wedding is a promise to either divorce or bury each other. Wow, talk about in your face! What are the other choices? I met a lady recently who was married 65 years, and she was here to complete the arrangements for her husband. Men tend to die first, but not always. Her son was with her, but he was getting long in the tooth himself and together they tried to figure out what would fit their financial circumstances and still honor the decedent. Neither Mom nor son were in a position to spend very much, and were both amazed at what it costs to die in 2015.

Some good news is that Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel, and Rendina Funeral Home will work with you to develop a final goodbye that meets your emotional needs while not breaking the bank. Besides taking payment in full for pre-need contracts, it is possible to make your arrangements in advance, freeze the price, put as little as 10% down and Calumet Park will finance the rest with zero interest.

What might this mean for you and your family? I had a lady that came in to help her mother complete her arrangements just recently. For her own graves that she bought 20 years ago for $1200, the current value for the same space is $9450. That is quite a savings achieved by thinking ahead and securing the desired location at the going rate in 1995.

So, it costs nothing to be educated on all that is involved in making cemetery and funeral arrangements. There is so much more to be gained by exploring the possibilities, and nothing can be lost because you don’t have to do anything until the time of need is upon you. I invite you to call and set up a meeting with one of our no-pressure Family Service Counselors. They will work with you to develop a program that is just right for you and let you know the current prices for your choices. From that point on, it is up to you as to whether or not you want the peace of mind that comes with getting your affairs in order. You can do everything at once which gives you the greatest protection against inflation, or you can piece together a final goodbye a part at a time to avoid hurting your budget and still know that you are chipping away at an expense that set the meter running on the day you were born, and will continue to run until you stop it by making your arrangements.

Be brave and call 769-8803 for a private meeting. Drop-ins are also welcome.

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