February 27, 2005

The cost of living or dying

Death or life or life or death
Death is life and life is death
I gotta use words when I talk to you
But if you understand or if you don't
Thatís nothing to me and nothing to you
We all gotta do what we gotta do

Source: Sweeney Agonistes by T. S. Elliott

Grave Monument.jpgIt has been brought to my attention numerous times by various insurance salespersons that I really should be planning in some way for the cost of dying. I read recently that the average cost of a funeral in the United States is over $7000. Considering the high costs of embalming, caskets, burial plots, memorials, services, and cemetery upkeep, the cost of dying has indeed become one of the many unavoidable costs of living. Moreover, the certainty of death has often guaranteed the surety of income for many.

Click to Enlarge
mummy.jpgHaving lived in five small towns ranging in population from five hundred to twenty thousand, I have observed that in the very small towns, it is not unusual for the wealthiest person in town to be the owner of the local funeral home. As towns grow larger, the competition is greater, but the business is still usually steady and lucrative. Personally, I have always thought that spending an exorbitant amount in preserving a body which would naturally decay serves little purpose but merely to show how little civilization has advanced in some ways.

I have also lived in the city during one period of my life, and still visit from time to time. I have thus further observed that where there is increased competition for "rites" to bury our own remains, other businessmen have begun marketing final resting places for our beloved pets.*

*At this point I am tempted to digress to one of my other "pet peeves" -- the practice of some people who spend more on a pet than most people spend on their children. I always wonder why such persons do not just adopt a child. Perhaps it is because pets do not talk back.

A Bit of Heaven [Pet Cemetery and Crematorium] is a family-owned and operated business established in 1996. We are the newest and most beautiful pet cemetery in the city of Houston TX. Our courteous, caring staff will console you and provide comfort during these most difficult times for animal lovers.
[Click photo on left to enlarge.]pet grave marker.jpg

[We offer] the grieving pet owner the most complete range of services and products including pet burial, cremation, animal caskets, urns and pet memorial plaques. -- Source.

Sample costs for such a pet funeral might cost up to $865 just for the burial plot, up to $350 for a custom granite marker, up to $140 per year for annual maintenance fees, and up to $350 for the casket.

A wise man once said "Let the dead bury their dead." Sometimes I just feel saying what the old Australian said:

Tan me hide when I'm dead, Fred,
tan me hide when I'm dead.
So we tanned his hide when he died Clyde,
(Spoken) And that's it hanging on the shed.

Posted by Moona at February 27, 2005 08:39 AM | TrackBack

Hey, Youre on the right track. Really, I looked into the home funeral thing once(just for my own hunger to educate myself on anything and everything) If youre interested in some info go to P.O.V. -A Family Undertaking. I found it really interesting. I mean why spend thousands of dollars on a death, when that money can and should be used for the living?

Posted by: Shelly at February 28, 2005 12:08 PM