All this time I thought living was expensive, but man, death costs a lot more! It wasn't until I buried my mom that I realized just how much.
The best part about the entire experience is how everyone is 'so sorry for your loss' and feels certain that after giving them unrealistic sums of money 'you will feel such relief'. (Um, a lighter wallet is NOT my idea of relief.)
It was literally $6,000 to put her in a box, $3,000 to put that box in the ground and another $1,000 to mark where all your money went. It was truly unbelievable. How in the world can someone look you in the eye and say that it's only $6,000....ONLY?! Kinda like I ONLY want to do something legal with this corpse that is no longer my mom?!?! Give me a damn break.
My grandmother insisted that going to the discount store was not an option and since it was her daughter...I caved. Although, I still insist we could have saved thousands AND I would have really enjoyed the look on the cemetery dude's face when they brought the pine box in on a flat bed with a horn playing dixie. But maybe I'm wrong. (Mom would have laughed.)
After it's all said and done, the cemetery dude wants to invite us over so he can 'give us a memorial book for mom'. Right...they are so kind and generous. Gee, how are they keeping the lights on? I told my grandmother that it was a sales ploy but she insisted that John was not like that at all. He was sincere. He only wanted to do something nice for us. (Us being the family he has never met but just gave him $3k. What a pal.)
So we go.
Mams was right. They were wanting to make a memorial page for us. (First one's free.)
Then, Johnny, let us know that he had reserved some plots near our beloved so we could go ahead and buy those before they sell out. (Okay, Johnny. I realize you're in a recession-proof business here, but come on...) My grandfather blatantly told him that under no condition would he be buying a plot today and that he had to get over the financial impact of burying his daughter. This wasn't just saying 'no', this was 'shut the hell up buddy'. But poor Johnny, didn't quite get it.
He turned to me and inquired about my 'arrangements'. (Big mistake, John-boy. Big mistake.)
"Well, John. My husband and I are going to be cremated. So we certainly won't be needing your services."
My grandfather was shocked. "Cremated?! Why? Where will your boys come to remember you?"
"Paps, the LAST place I want my boys to remember me is a damn cemetery. I want them to remember me in the mountains, the river and flying in a hot-air balloon. No offense to John here, but I think this is all a damn crock in the first place. Three thousand dollars for a spot of land that you'll never use again. Geez." (Johnny-boy was a bit taken a-back by that one.)
Still, he insists on taking us back to the office for the final push...
"You know, Mr and Mrs Rogers, you have far exceeded the average life expectancy." (Oh no he didn't.) "And honestly, one could argue that you are living on borrowed time." (Holy crap. Is Paps going to loose it first or am I?! I hope John's got a plot, cause he's gonna need it...)
At that moment, my grandfather stood up. Straightened his jacket over his arm and said, "Mr. Smith, I do appreciate your time today, but we are not buying anything. Thank you. Good day." and we left. (What, no 'step outside buddy'?! No, listen here, I'll show you borrowed time!")
I could probably learn some tact from him.
Instead, I sent John an email:
Attached is the picture of mom. Thanks for making the memorial page for her. Your call last night reminded me to ask my husband what we are going to do about the marker. He agreed that we should get prices elsewhere, so I'm going to shop around a bit. I will let you know as soon as we have some prices, if you would like to 'throw your hat in the ring' so to speak.
Also, I just wanted to add that after our meeting with you, my grandparents made a decision that I had never expected. They now want to be cremated. Thank you for saving us a lot of worry over that decision! Who would have thought that an 82-year-old couple would ever decide that?!
Anyway, thanks again!"
Heh heh heh...'borrowed time', my ass.