As I write, it’s November 2018. I wrote this post in May 2018 and didn’t publish it for some reason. I can kind of see why I didn’t. But if you’re in the position of needing to work out costs for a funeral – well, firstly I’m sorry that you are and secondly, don’t be afraid to read on and do your own thing. This post is very personal. I’m ranting – of course I am. And I’m sharing a lot about my Dad’s funeral which doesn’t mean it’s something that would work for you. It’s all stuff for you to think about and consider your options.
Do you know how much it costs for a funeral? A LOT OF MONEY. That’s what. My Dad’s funeral was not pleasant to plan. I sat there, 24 hours after my Dad had died, and had to say to the funeral director, “No, we will worry about the costs now. We are making decisions driven by finances”. He’d said “Lets not worry about costs for now….” If you have not been in that specific position – and I hope you never are – then you really cannot imagine what it is like.
I was ?? at the cost for the funeral booklet – the order of service. I designed my own. Had a local printer print it for us, full colour, for a third of the cost from the funeral home. It was full of gorgeous photos of my Dad and our family. I love it. We treasure it. You do not need to spend £1.50 per booklet. Hop onto Canva and make something that’s mostly photos and it will be a beautiful, personal tribute.
Best spend? The brilliant, brilliant, human – host of ceremonies – humanist celebrant – I’ve been recommending her to anyone I meet where someone has died. “I’m so sorry your Nanna died, can I recommend someone to you for the service???”
We are not poor. I’m not suggesting that. But because the business my Dad worked for, for 30 years, went under – and took his pension with it, we knew his death would have financial consequences for my Mum. So I’m sat there, asking about how we could claim for funeral support. The long and short of it is, that we as immediate family – and my Mum – would need to be actively receiving benefits to get help towards it. We’re not. So that was not an option.
At one point, we were not having flowers – because they literally go on the coffin at the house and and are thrown away 90 minutes later, once the ceremony is done with. At £60.00 a letter, I had to tell our boys that we would not be able to spell out GRUMPY after all. That didn’t feel great.
And the look on people’s faces when I said I’d found a coffin supplier who would save us £150 on the funeral home’s most basic offering. The funeral director was telling us we should check that it was fit for purpose – because, you know, there was that incident where someone fell through the coffin as it was being carried into a church. The latter is folklore – and it was somewhere internationally, that was a home made coffin, that had not been made properly, so it did not apply at all to us – thank you for that funeral director. AND – do not feel that you have to pay for a lining for the coffin if you don’t want to. We did but I don’t think it was really needed. I’m not sure about it – we had my Dad ‘laid out’ with his bedsheet underneath him, and his tartan duvet and pillow and pillowcase to keep him warm and comfy. Even though he was you know, being kept in a fridge. Go figure. It felt appropriate. It felt so much better than someone having a white sheet over them. No thank you. Bring on the duvet :))
WHAT FOLLOWS NEXT IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. DO NOT READ ON IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO THINK ABOUT EMBALMING.
Embalming – the Funeral Director said “you should have him embalmed”. Why? For visiting? But we’re cremating him, having a closed casket – and we’re doing it in nine days time. There’s no need. And you know what, I don’t want you fiddling with my Dad. I do not want him being changed. I want him to be left just as he is – perfect. And I cannot tell you enough, that if you do not want your loved one to well, look a bit strange, please ask them to not sew their mouth together. I’d not realised that it was so commonplace – I didn’t know to ask them not to. So I got my knickers in a twist when they did. It changed the look of my Dad completely caused other changes to his face. I was deeply unhappy with this when I’d been saying all along, do not mess with him. I hate that I now know about this kind of thing. But I do.
It breaks my heart that people are resorting to crowdfunding for funerals. I don’t think there’s a need for horse drawn carriages. But people shouldn’t feel they need to drive themselves to save £350 on each car. That day of all days, you want someone else to drive.
That’s all I have in me for now, for ranting about the costs of funerals. I’m sure I’ll come back and add more at some point….