A matter of priorities….

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If you were asked to make a list of the top 10 things that you would be spending money on for major purchases over the next twelve months, I would venture a guess that cemetery property and funerals would not appear for most of the readers of this newspaper.
A better question would be, “How many of us could write a check, right now, for all that is needed for a traditional funeral service with a visitation and for cemetery expenses?” Some of the decisions that are challenging to make on the worst day of your life when not already known are:
What cemetery to use? Would you want a single grave or a family lot? Would you want a final resting place that has a simple, flush memorial or would you need to be able to put up an above ground monument? Would you prefer a private mausoleum or to be part of a community mausoleum complex to ensure a clean, dry, above ground space for yourself or your loved one? Which funeral home? What type of service, from religious to military to nondenominational, or no service at all? What type of casket – wood, or metal, and at what price? Would you want to be cremated, or have a traditional service with a viewing and visitation? What about pall bearers, and music, and flowers, and scripture or other readings? Who will do the eulogy? So many questions with many having nothing to do with the elephant in the room…how much does it cost?

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You can spend as much or as little as you want, but spending is something that you or your loved one (or the state if you have nobody to tend to your funeral) will do. Last year, the average spent on a funeral service and cemetery needs was between $12,000 and $15,000. Most people are shocked at the price when they are not prepared what it costs to die. Simple cremation is not so simple and averages around $2,500 when all is said and done, and that is when you take the cremains (ashes) home. Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville offers a free grave space for cremation families to allow them to have a dignified final resting place that offers loved ones a place to visit.

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There is nothing wrong with taking ashes home, but it does pose the question of what happens to them after you are gone? And, it prevents others who cared about your loved one from visiting a grave to place a flower or just “talk about things” within the immediate proximity of the mortal remains of a friend or relative. Worse: what if they are stolen or last in a natural disaster?
Sadly, death does not announce itself. Whatever your financial position is on the day you are called to make arrangements, that’s how much you will be able to spend. If you are interested in saving money (a lot of money for many), locking in prices, ensuring that your family will be able to be together in your memorial estate, conserving your insurance for the real reason you have been paying for it all of these years (to take care of your family after you are gone), arrange for small monthly payments with no credit turn-downs and zero interest, see that your wishes are carried out and be blessed with real peace of mind, then you may want to look into pre-arranging.

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It costs nothing to sit with a trained professional and be educated on these decisions. For some, it may be a little frightening to approach the subject, so they figure if they ignore talking about death, it will ignore them. Reality check time: death is real, and the transition from being with the important people in our lives and not having them there is sometimes marred by one’s inability to provide a proper send-off. When this term is used, do not let any cemetery or funeral home employee “guilt” you into doing something that is not good for you in your time of weakness and grief.
Cemetery and funeral workers should really be called “funeral planners” as death is really a life event for those left behind. Having a proper send-off for one family can look completely different to another. That is the real reason that people should think about prearranging as it allows one the freedom to make sensible or exotic choices that meets their needs and financial position. A good cemeterian or funeral director is there to guide you along the path of planning a funeral and final placement of a loved one for eternity. These a personal decisions that are made simpler when guided by being made aware of the many choices in the local market. Then, and when done on a pre-need basis, you can pick and choose what is right for you and your family.

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You met and spent a lifetime together…does it make sense to plan final arrangements together and then forget about it until a time of need?

At Calumet Park and its affiliates, you would be able to arrange for all of your final expenses, or put together a plan that will let you chip away at these expenses a little at a time, when you are alive and able to act. At Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel and Rendina Funeral Home, you are driving the arrangements bus. Your needs are all that matters, and making a call (219-769-8803) now is a great first step to get details on how you can find peace of mind in this area of your life.

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