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Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:33 AM

It says so much when a working family can't even afford to bury the dead

Personal case I know: a friend lost her mother the other night. Her mother was on disability and passed away in her sleep. She was still very young (just barely over 50).

All the kids are adults and work full time. In the current job market they are struggling to even pay the rent and cannot afford to pay for a funeral. I noticed this morning on facebook that they had started a Give Forward account in hopes of paying for the funeral. Because they don't have the money they cannot make plans for a funeral at this time.

It shouldn't be like this. They aren't even allowed to mourn properly because they are poor. I don't care about a person's political persuasion and I think that most would be angry about something like this if they knew. And if they realized how common it was they'd be even angrier.

161 replies, 10890 views

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Reply It says so much when a working family can't even afford to bury the dead (Original post)
xmas74 Mar 2013 OP
Little Star Mar 2013 #1
xmas74 Mar 2013 #3
Little Star Mar 2013 #10
xmas74 Mar 2013 #14
liberalmike27 Mar 2013 #65
840high Mar 2013 #67
southernyankeebelle Mar 2013 #93
Curmudgeoness Mar 2013 #108
840high Mar 2013 #111
awoke_in_2003 Mar 2013 #106
DeschutesRiver Mar 2013 #68
lunasun Mar 2013 #134
Helen Reddy Mar 2013 #4
Little Star Mar 2013 #11
freshwest Mar 2013 #61
Little Star Mar 2013 #88
HappyMe Mar 2013 #71
Little Star Mar 2013 #89
SoCalDem Mar 2013 #100
Little Star Mar 2013 #102
SoCalDem Mar 2013 #105
Lars39 Mar 2013 #2
xmas74 Mar 2013 #6
Lars39 Mar 2013 #25
former9thward Mar 2013 #32
xmas74 Mar 2013 #46
Demoiselle Mar 2013 #57
liberalmike27 Mar 2013 #66
Lars39 Mar 2013 #97
customerserviceguy Mar 2013 #113
Lars39 Mar 2013 #114
customerserviceguy Mar 2013 #119
Helen Reddy Mar 2013 #5
xmas74 Mar 2013 #7
exboyfil Mar 2013 #9
xmas74 Mar 2013 #13
MiniMe Mar 2013 #72
xmas74 Mar 2013 #80
Helen Reddy Mar 2013 #19
Frosty1 Mar 2013 #47
xmas74 Mar 2013 #51
Frosty1 Mar 2013 #63
xmas74 Mar 2013 #79
Frosty1 Mar 2013 #94
xmas74 Mar 2013 #96
exboyfil Mar 2013 #8
xmas74 Mar 2013 #12
dhol82 Mar 2013 #35
xmas74 Mar 2013 #48
Frosty1 Mar 2013 #49
xmas74 Mar 2013 #54
madokie Mar 2013 #15
xmas74 Mar 2013 #20
madokie Mar 2013 #26
Spitfire of ATJ Mar 2013 #16
xmas74 Mar 2013 #17
Spitfire of ATJ Mar 2013 #30
xmas74 Mar 2013 #82
Spitfire of ATJ Mar 2013 #116
xmas74 Mar 2013 #118
Spitfire of ATJ Mar 2013 #126
xmas74 Mar 2013 #129
Spitfire of ATJ Mar 2013 #137
xmas74 Mar 2013 #143
Spitfire of ATJ Mar 2013 #146
xmas74 Mar 2013 #152
Spitfire of ATJ Mar 2013 #156
Initech Mar 2013 #76
Earth_First Mar 2013 #18
xmas74 Mar 2013 #24
bluedigger Mar 2013 #58
a la izquierda Mar 2013 #103
mrmpa Mar 2013 #21
xmas74 Mar 2013 #29
RC Mar 2013 #64
xmas74 Mar 2013 #83
shrike Mar 2013 #22
xmas74 Mar 2013 #33
Viva_La_Revolution Mar 2013 #74
jwirr Mar 2013 #23
xmas74 Mar 2013 #84
Solly Mack Mar 2013 #27
hfojvt Mar 2013 #28
xmas74 Mar 2013 #34
jtuck004 Mar 2013 #40
xmas74 Mar 2013 #43
jtuck004 Mar 2013 #56
xmas74 Mar 2013 #86
Frosty1 Mar 2013 #95
xmas74 Mar 2013 #98
Frosty1 Mar 2013 #104
jtuck004 Mar 2013 #115
Spitfire of ATJ Mar 2013 #41
juajen Mar 2013 #73
smirkymonkey Mar 2013 #120
Hekate Mar 2013 #122
LiberalEsto Mar 2013 #31
handmade34 Mar 2013 #36
Nay Mar 2013 #37
sorefeet Mar 2013 #38
xmas74 Mar 2013 #87
Dr Hobbitstein Mar 2013 #39
bocaoma Mar 2013 #42
lunatica Mar 2013 #44
xmas74 Mar 2013 #55
bluestate10 Mar 2013 #107
lunatica Mar 2013 #110
jtuck004 Mar 2013 #45
peace13 Mar 2013 #50
1-Old-Man Mar 2013 #52
shanti Mar 2013 #124
Rosa Luxemburg Mar 2013 #53
love_katz Mar 2013 #140
RevStPatrick Mar 2013 #59
Journeyman Mar 2013 #139
X_Digger Mar 2013 #60
Mariana Mar 2013 #62
X_Digger Mar 2013 #70
bike man Mar 2013 #69
Hatchling Mar 2013 #75
mucifer Mar 2013 #77
xmas74 Mar 2013 #78
notadmblnd Mar 2013 #81
Lady Freedom Returns Mar 2013 #85
elehhhhna Mar 2013 #90
janlyn Mar 2013 #91
dgibby Mar 2013 #92
SoCalDem Mar 2013 #99
Autumn Mar 2013 #101
Hekate Mar 2013 #148
prole_for_peace Mar 2013 #109
xmas74 Mar 2013 #117
prole_for_peace Mar 2013 #157
xmas74 Mar 2013 #158
LineReply .
blkmusclmachine Mar 2013 #112
Hekate Mar 2013 #121
xmas74 Mar 2013 #123
Hekate Mar 2013 #147
RudynJack Mar 2013 #125
xmas74 Mar 2013 #130
RudynJack Mar 2013 #135
Warpy Mar 2013 #127
xmas74 Mar 2013 #132
Warpy Mar 2013 #138
xmas74 Mar 2013 #144
hrmjustin Mar 2013 #128
riverbendviewgal Mar 2013 #131
xmas74 Mar 2013 #133
Historic NY Mar 2013 #136
xmas74 Mar 2013 #142
riverbendviewgal Mar 2013 #161
SheilaT Mar 2013 #141
xmas74 Mar 2013 #145
Mortos Mar 2013 #149
xmas74 Mar 2013 #153
alphafemale Mar 2013 #150
xmas74 Mar 2013 #154
michigandem58 Mar 2013 #151
xmas74 Mar 2013 #155
Le Taz Hot Mar 2013 #159
xmas74 Mar 2013 #160

Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:41 AM

1. I buried my husband last year and trust me the whole..

process took a huge chunk out of my savings. I wanted to do right by him and I am glad that I was able to. But it was very scary spending all that money I really couldn't afford. My heart goes out to your friend and her family.

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Response to Little Star (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:45 AM

3. It's awful.

I don't even know where to begin or how to help.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #3)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:56 AM

10. Your post has bothered me so that I did a google search...

for Missouri after looking at your profile for where your friend might be from.

I found this: http://www.dfsmemorials.com/missouri-cremation-services/index.html Maybe it's worth it for you to take a look at the website? I was thinking that if the family could raise money on facebook something like this might be worth looking into.

I don't know. I just feel so bad for what they are going through and also so bad for how bad you feel.

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Response to Little Star (Reply #10)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:03 AM

14. I will definitely refer this over to them!

I'll also give them the name of someone I went to school with who I found out is a funeral director now. He might be able to help them keep down costs a bit.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #14)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:15 PM

65. I tell everyone

I want to be cremated. It isn't without cost, but it is pretty cheap by comparison.

I visited a very old graveyard once, where my grandmother was buried, and I realized that most of the people buried there, never had anyone who visited their graves anymore. Even famous people eventually are forgotten, and clearly burials are for the family or people close, so they can go visit. I don't want anyone that might, wasting their time whining over my grave, and I especially don't want someone spending money on me in a harsh economy, or otherwise. Once we're dead, the part that is us is gone. I don't know where it goes, but I know we have exited the car, and I sure don't want anyone going bankrupt paying for an expensive funeral.

By the way, that business has become very concentrated, monopolized. It's part of the reason it has become so much more expensive. It is much like the medical care business, they've got you over the barrel, and they do their best to not leave any of your money on your table.

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Response to liberalmike27 (Reply #65)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:30 PM

67. Mom and Dad were

cremated - their wish. I have it in my will, too.

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Response to 840high (Reply #67)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 04:10 PM

93. Both my husband and I are going to be cremated. We went to our local funeral home

 

and made our plans already. It is the cheapest way to go. I just can't and won't burden my only child with doing our funeral and the expenses. We told the funeral home not to put it in the paper, and I didn't want any service at the funeral home and to bury me as soon as possible. The only expense we will have to worry about is the head stone. I even told my family I know they all love us and we talk every day but there is no need to come at a burial. I believe when you die your soul leaves your body. The funeral is for the living. If they feel they need to have a service they can do it back home in their state. I am a realist.

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Response to 840high (Reply #67)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 06:22 PM

108. Just a suggestion.....

do more than putting it in your will. Tell the people who would be confronted with the arrangements. The will is rarely read so fast that anyone will know it is there until it is too late. There are very few people who run to the will as soon as someone dies.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #108)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 06:57 PM

111. Good suggestion - my

daughter and ex know my wishes,

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Response to liberalmike27 (Reply #65)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 06:00 PM

106. The mafia...

controls most aspects of the funeral business. I agree with you on cremation- it is cheap, and every one else can go about the business of living.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #14)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:35 PM

68. And in place of an actual funeral "service", could they throw a wake (unless there is some

religious reason why not)?

I think I'd go for a low cost cremation, with the ashes spread at least in one spot that could be accessed forever (I've heard of places deep in a national forest or state park used in this way, and the family members often camp nearby where the ashes were dispersed). It could be in a corner of a city park. Or if there is family land anywhere, some could be put there with a tree or a lilac or you name it planted over top as a permanent memorial to visit. Just about any place where over the years one could go and remember their loved one for free.

And then I'd throw a "wake" style potluck get together, music if we knew anyone who played an instrument, and maybe some good words from the people who knew and will miss the presence of my loved one. And I'd do that even if only a handful of people could attend - a memorial that was a celebration of this person's years with them on this planet.

You know, we have a homesteader buried here on our land. No one has come to visit him, in fact, a neighbor helped us locate the grave way off in a quiet canyon near the fallen down cabin where he lived in peace and quiet. But we, strangers, are the only visitors, and it seems like having an actual gravesite with a body isn't always what it is cracked up to be, if what you want is to be sure that people will visit your gravesite. Of course back then this didn't cost the man's family a dime since he buried on his own land, where he lived and loved to be, and today things are far different.

To me, since I am not religious, I'd view throwing a wake as the difference between buying a beautiful gift for someone at store versus making a beautiful hand crafted gift to give instead. I'd prefer it that way, because I personalized my good bye. That said, to some people the traditional funeral ways are very important and without them, they may never feel good about how the passing/funeral was handled. Beliefs in this regard are highly individual.

The cremation and a private at home memorial service might not be what they planned or wished for, but it could be a great thing if they were open to doing things a bit non traditionally. I wish them so much luck in finding a way to cope with the costs, but more so that they find peace and a way to cope with the loss.

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Response to DeschutesRiver (Reply #68)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:54 PM

134. Many cremation locations also offer a service after the death. You have to some individuals

speak at the place and they will play music you give them etc.
If a person wants to mimic a traditional funeral this is also a choice
The family can speak a little each person in honor of the person . People can gather for a short time
But you are correct that there are all kinds of send offs that are great alternatives

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Response to Little Star (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:46 AM

4. ((((Little Star)))) n/t

 

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Response to Helen Reddy (Reply #4)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:57 AM

11. TY

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Response to Little Star (Reply #11)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:54 PM

61. Same, didn't know. Sending hugs to you, too.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #61)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:46 PM

88. TY

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Response to Little Star (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:48 PM

71. I am sorry for your loss.


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Response to HappyMe (Reply #71)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:49 PM

89. TY

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Response to Little Star (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 04:44 PM

100. My husband and I have made a pact (set it in place via a legal trust/will)

that we will be cremated (as cheaply as possible) and will probably pre-pay and make arrangements ourselves beforehand, so our kids will not have to do it. What they do with our ashes will be their choice.. We will be dead and won't care. We do not want to tie them to a place they feel obligated to visit or feel ashamed when they do not.

No one lives on after the ones who knew them are gone, so they can hold us in their memories and when they too are gone, we are truly done.

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Response to SoCalDem (Reply #100)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 04:53 PM

102. I am so into genealogy that I have been in the process of working...

with others to put small stone markers where my grandparents & aunts are buried. But I don't think there's anything wrong with your way either.

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Response to Little Star (Reply #102)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 05:02 PM

105. With so much online these days, an actual marker may soon be a thing of the past too

If we can ever wrest away "ownership" of public records from the likes of the "pay-to-view" entities that have somehow taken total control over public information.. (Ancestry.com et al )

I guess genealogy for me is not very interesting since so many of my "old-time" family records were obliterated by wars/dictatorships & general mayhem..

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:44 AM

2. And can't even afford the lower cost of cremation, either.

It's also angonizing for those who would normally never choose cremation.
I know of a family member who recetly passed away who had made his own arrangements and chose the cheapest route, cremation, and it is very upsetting to his wife, who believes in burial for afterlife reasons.

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Response to Lars39 (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:49 AM

6. I remember reading The American Way of Death

years ago and thinking about all the options. Now, from what I understand, they've even made those options more expensive.

I have a friend who is donating his body to The Body Farm, as they call it, in Tennessee. He even drew up the paperwork with an attorney, has it on file with his doctor and I believe he contacted the university. Why? Because it helps with research and it's free. Once they are done they will often cremate the remains and then return them to the family. This is a few years down the road.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #6)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:14 AM

25. Smart funeral home directors will start offering cheaper

Last edited Sat Mar 2, 2013, 08:15 PM - Edit history (1)

Products and services. I know of one in Tn who is, but I wonder how long he'll stay in business.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #6)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:19 AM

32. That is exactly what my father did.

He died and they came and got the body. A couple months later they sent the cremated remains along with a letter detailing the research they had done with the body.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #32)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:43 AM

46. That's what impressed him about it.

It's putting his body to use for a good cause and takes away all the worries from his family. No one has to deal with a director and the cremation is free.

He said that once his ashes are returned they are to be taken to a local bar and a round of drinks will be on him. That's it.

Still cheaper than a funeral.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #6)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:19 PM

57. My husband donated his body to research.

Some very sweet people came and took him away, gently and respectfully. We had a lovely celebration for him later, and the hospitals sponsor a memorial service for all the donors that's coming up soon.
It is hard to say goodbye,but it feels good to be able to do exactly what he wanted us to do.

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Response to Lars39 (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:18 PM

66. Cremation

Should in no way affect the "afterlife," should there be one.

The soul has left the building. Sorry for your loss by the way. But no one should feel guilty or worry about choosing cremation.

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Response to liberalmike27 (Reply #66)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 04:35 PM

97. Thanks, liberalmike27.

I prefer cremation for myself and don't see anything wrong with it, but those that believe that the body should be whole can get all bent out of shape about the matter.

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Response to Lars39 (Reply #97)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 07:44 PM

113. If that's the case

then they need to save enough from cutting back on the real necessities of life, just to give to an overpriced funeral director. There are all kinds of ways that irrational religious beliefs affect those who have them, why shouldn't this be one of them?

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #113)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 08:03 PM

114. You can't cut back on air, she literally has no income coming in right now except food stamps.

She's too young for survivor's benefits and has had 3 minor strokes now herself, with only one documented. The *only* hope she has for any kind of income is Vietnam Veteran Survivor Benefits, which might not kick in for 3 months or more.

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Response to Lars39 (Reply #114)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:14 PM

119. Ok, I don't want anyone to starve

But a full-on funeral just to deal with one's religious beliefs about what happens to a human body in an afterlife is simply something for her to figure out how to provide, and not something the rest of us should feel obligated to provide.

For the living, I'm willing to do a lot, for the dead, I figure they won't know or care one way or the other, afterlife or not.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:49 AM

5. My parents did a pre-paid

 

funeral service, cremation and the plots many years ago, when things weren't so dang expensive. They had the means and us kids are thankful for that.

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Response to Helen Reddy (Reply #5)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:52 AM

7. She had so many problems

and was on disability the last few years of her life. No way could she ever afford any kind of insurance or prepaid service.

That's even one of the first things they ask when someone applies for assistance, such as food stamps. They ask them if they own any prepaid burial plans or plots. Ownership could disqualify a person for services, since they could be liquidated. (At least that's how it is in Missouri.)

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #7)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:55 AM

9. That is weird

I thought it was a federal law. I set one up for my grandmother in Iowa for a funeral in West Virginia with no issue. I thought it was under federal law.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #9)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:01 AM

13. For Medicaid, it's fine.

And that's for those of Medicaid age. She was too young so she fell under different laws.

She was on disability and qualified for food stamps. Food stamp qualifications differ from state to state, as does heating assistance, which she also received. In order to receive things like that she couldn't own any plans

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #13)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 02:03 PM

72. Medicaid or Medicare?

Just asking because of your "those of Medicaid age" comment. There is no age thing for Medicaid.

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Response to MiniMe (Reply #72)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:21 PM

80. I probably meant Medicare for the age.

I should have typed Medicaid. I just wasn't thinking.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #7)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:10 AM

19. That is just plain immoral

 

your mom and countless must endure.

I am so sorry that this is how a "'civilized" society treats their citizens. Pathetic.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #7)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:44 AM

47. I think you may want to recheck that fact.

Here in Minnesota a prepaid burial account is allowable as long as it is in a dedicated account
like a Certificate of Deposit or Savings Account that has the funeral home listed as Pay on Death Beneficiary.
Since this is a federal program I think the same laws apply to Missouri. Here in Minnesota the state will pay to bury the poor. Maybe they need to check that out.

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Response to Frosty1 (Reply #47)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:53 AM

51. It's not the SSI.

It's for food stamps and heating assistance.

I know. When I was in a lay off a few years ago I applied for assistance for my child and it's the first question they asked me. (Second is if you've been convicted of any drug violations, third is food stamp violations.) The caseworker stated that if I did have anything of that nature I would have to turn over all information about it and that since I was under "retirement age" it would probably have to be liquidated. She said that this would have to be done before they could even begin processing an application for food stamps.

States set the laws for food stamps. That's why Missouri is one of the few that have automatic disqualifications for drug-related offenses-permanently.

She was on SSI/disability, received food stamps and heating assistance. Anything of value, including funeral plots and plans, count against you when applying for food stamps and heating assistance in Missouri. If she just had Medicaid she would be able to own something like that.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #51)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:02 PM

63. You may be right

But... These are federal programs and usually federal law supersedes state law. They maybe able to change rules about administering the programs but not the laws about the programs themselves. Many times the caseworkers simply don't know any better or they will do just exactly what they can get away with if no one challenges them. In your area The Legal Services of Missouri would be the one. http://www.lsmo.org/

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Response to Frosty1 (Reply #63)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:19 PM

79. There's a big fight right now

over the MO laws in reference to assistance. The example they are all using is the automatic barring of aid because of a previous drug conviction. The questions asked aren't just about the interviewee-they are about everyone who resides in the home. The idea is that children don't deserve punishment because dad was caught with a joint when he was 20 or that someone with an old charge doesn't deserve to be punished now when they've done their time. It's been featured in the KC Star a few times now because of how backward it is. It's a big fight and, from what I understand, if this law is changed it could change how aid is given.

(That's where the questions about burial plots and a single vehicle might come into play. Not just the burial plans are involved but also the value of your car. Depending on the value of your car you could technically be forced to sell it, even if it's the only form of transportation for your family. And Missouri's transit system outside of the cities really bites, if there is one at all.)

I know the attorney for the local Legal Aid. He's a good man but he's stretched to his limits. One person serving 13 counties is a bit much so everything is backlogged.
http://www.lawmo.org/offices.htm


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Response to xmas74 (Reply #79)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 04:18 PM

94. I hear you

Sometimes these things just have to work their way through the courts. I know the value minus any amount owed on the car has to equal a set dollar amount as part of the federal qualifications process and not negotiable. Here is what you said the caseworker said "since I was under "retirement age" it would probably have to be liquidated" Probably is the KEY word. If these accounts are not set up as a dedicated account with the funeral home as beneficiary they can force you to liquidate them. If they are properly set up It is questionable whether they can force liquidation.

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Response to Frosty1 (Reply #94)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 04:22 PM

96. It's a good question about the liquidation

but in the end she's just going by what she knows. It's something that'll have to work itself out in the courts or in the legislature.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:53 AM

8. Transport, Casket, Embalming,

Funeral home visitation, Church, Pastor, Organists, Soloists, Food for Reception, Reception Hall, Cemetery Plot, Open and Closing of Grave, Vault for Casket, Grave Stone, Placing Grave Stone, Obituary in Newspaper, Transportation for family members, lodging, food.

When I took over my grandmother's finances, I moved her savings account into a funeral account ($8K). I have since put $2K of my own money into cemetery costs, and it is still will not cover everything (this is a bare bones funeral, casket, etc.

A suggestion if you plan to go under Long Term Care under Title 19. Use whatever liquid assets you have available to set up a funeral account. It is shielded from the Medicaid asset requirement and cannot be seized in bankruptcy or by creditors. Do this before addressing any other debts (except perhaps assets with a lien like a house or a car).

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #8)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:58 AM

12. She was on disability.

In order to receive any services in Missouri (food stamps, heating assistance, etc) she had to liquidate any prepaid funeral accounts, plots, etc.

A few years ago I went through a lay-off. I went down to the local DFS office and applied for food stamps and MC+ for my child. One of the first questions they asked was about this, including funeral accounts. I didn't have any and said so but asked the case worker what would happen if I did. She stated that they would have to know exactly where they were located and the total dollar amounts and that, more than likely, they would have to be sold or liquidated before they could begin processing an application for food stamps.

Long term care is entirely different and that's a good thing. Problem is, young people die all the time and my state doesn't recognize that.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #12)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:24 AM

35. must be different in pennsylvania


My mom had a pre-paid burial and plot arrangement. However, it was in some sort of irrevocable trust so that when she went on SSI it did not count in the mix. That paid for the whole funeral and interment. I just had to pay to add the date of death to the tombstone.

Oops. Just realized that SSI is not Medicaid. But, if your arrangements are placed in an irrevocable trust (arranged by the funeral home) seems like it can't be touched.

Any lawyers on the board know?

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Response to dhol82 (Reply #35)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:45 AM

48. I'm in Missouri.

Unfortunately, everything is different here.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #12)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:48 AM

49. The caseworker was wrong!

Foodstamps is a federal program subject to federal law.
See post #47

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Response to Frosty1 (Reply #49)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:04 PM

54. But states can place their own laws on the program.

Example: in Missouri anyone convicted of a drug related crime is permanently barred from use of the program no matter what the conviction, when or where. Missouri is one of few states still left with that denial.

Similar laws are on the books about receiving food stamps and burial plots/funeral plans.

The caseworker wasn't wrong. She gave me a piece of paper that was a generic from the Jeff City with a list of questions. She had to read each and every question to me and ask me if my answer was yes or no. If yes, I had to elaborate.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:03 AM

15. Many can't even afford decent housing and food

yes we have a fucked up country right now and it is not the Black Man in the white house's fault either. Its the sorry racist no good sob's who are to blame.
I love our President and Vice President. Oh and love doesn't come easy for me either

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Response to madokie (Reply #15)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:10 AM

20. She was on disability.

And food stamps. She had a roommate who was the same. She slept on the couch, since they were both on a long waiting list for low income housing. (There's always a long wait around here-too many people and not enough housing.)

She couldn't afford much of anything.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #20)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:14 AM

26. That is so sad

I'm so sorry for your loss

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:04 AM

16. The cost of living doesn't compare to the cost of dying....

It's like they want whatever you made for a full year as a disposal fee.

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #16)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:08 AM

17. And since she was on disability

they want more than she ever made in a year.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #17)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:17 AM

30. What gets me is they throw guilt at you for not forking over the cash....

As if you must not have loved her very much if you don't pay for their trip to Bermuda.

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #30)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:22 PM

82. The only positive part about this is that

they might have time to think before they get sucked into purchasing everything the home wants.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #82)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 08:39 PM

116. I told everyone to just have a party....

I consider what's left to be "medical waste".

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #116)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 09:20 PM

118. It's a good attitude to have

but it's harder to keep that line of thinking when it really happens.

That's how families get sucked in to spending far more than they can afford.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #118)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:34 PM

126. What gets me is when you go to a cemetary and there is this big monument there...

Then you go to look up who the hell it was and it was nobody special at all. I mean, I can see it when the community honors someone with a monument but to put the thing up just because you could afford it is an ego trip.

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #126)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:40 PM

129. I don't know

I enjoy the monuments. I like to spend time in cemeteries, looking at unusual headstones and monuments and learning the history behind them.

My community sponsors cemetery walks every year. There is a theme and lots of research is involved. Some years the persons chosen are connected by a common history or event. Other years it has even involved symbols on headstones.

In the past year I started making gravestone rubbings.

Do some take it overboard? Yes, but I still enjoy looking at them.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #129)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 12:13 AM

137. I lived next to a cemetary with dates going back to the early 1800s....

Complete with a creepy old mausoleum, an underground crypt and a crying statue.

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #137)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 12:49 AM

143. I would spend weeks there,

making rubbings, taking pictures and researching the names.

It's always interesting the stories behind the names. Even the most simple stones often have interesting histories.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #143)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 01:32 AM

146. This one has a prize....

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #146)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 02:13 PM

152. That is incredible.

I would love to see it in person

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #152)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 02:30 PM

156. Here's the coorinates...

42.307681, -85.178815

C/P into google maps.

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #16)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 02:43 PM

76. Or even more than that.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:09 AM

18. We live in an exurb of the City of Rochester...

To my horror I was shocked to find out that in the back of a cemetary in a poor-drainage area; is the location that the county pays the village to bury the forgotten.

After seeing an IndymediaRochester video on this, I went to see this myself.

I was appauld.

The rows of plots are marked with broken shovel handles, golf clubs, tree limbs.

There are tire tracks from a dual-wheeled dump truck that ran directly over three plots.

A portion lays under water.

I approached the village board of trustees about the condition of these plots, to which I was met with attitude and dismissal.

I was told that if I wanted to take care of the plots, I was welcomed to do so.

I want the contractor responsible for this tossed on their ass and have someone with a bit of dignity involved...

My wife and I go up during the non-winter months or when snowfall has cleared and clean the trash and debris up.

Shameful.

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Response to Earth_First (Reply #18)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:14 AM

24. This is a common attitude towards pauper's fields.

It's the same attitude that they have down here with not just that but with the old black cemeteries. No one wants to take care of them because they were cheap or donated.

Look for a cemetery club or find a way to start one. I belong to one and we do care and upkeep on some cemeteries, while trying to raise money for headstones and researching the history behind some of the remains in the plots.

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Response to Earth_First (Reply #18)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:22 PM

58. Ever drive down I-95 outside of Secaucus, NJ?

There used to be a Potter's Field in Secaucus. They stacked them three deep in places. It was discontinued in the late 50's and later used as a landfill. Then they built the Interstate across it. And built a youth correctional facility on top of it. All the remains that could be recovered (>4,000) were removed and reinterred ten years ago, as part of the new rail connector project to NYC that Gov. Christie then cancelled to fund casinos. Anyways, there are still human remains embedded in the foundations of the overpasses of I-95. They couldn't be removed without shutting down the interstate, which wasn't a realistic possibility due to the location and heavy use.

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Response to bluedigger (Reply #58)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 04:55 PM

103. Mother of God, you're joking!

I have driven that stretch of highway many, many times.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:11 AM

21. My parents had made the choice to be cremated..................

they had also prepaid to the catholic cemetery to have their urns placed in a niche behind locked glass on a shelf. When dad died mom & brother went to the funeral home for arrangements. They learned that the cemetery now wanted a "grave opening" fee of about $500, this was to place a key in the lock and place dad's urn. They refused to pay, it took awhile but the cemetry returned the money to mom.

We had dad's urn for a few years, until the national cemetery opened in our area. Dad was buried there at no cost (15 year Marine Corps veteran), when mom dies she will also be buried there at no cost.

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Response to mrmpa (Reply #21)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:15 AM

29. It's just become too expensive

and yet it has to be done.

I don't even know where to begin.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #29)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:03 PM

64. That is why it is too expensive.

 

It has to be done.
More and more people are getting out of paying taxes (too poor), but no one is getting out of dying.

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Response to RC (Reply #64)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:25 PM

83. Exactly.

You have to pay for this and the days of Potter's Fields are disappearing in some places.

You're over a barrel at the most inopportune time and they know it.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:13 AM

22. FWIW, some things I've been seeing people do to save money

They're having the visitation at the church, instead of the funeral home. If the deceased was a church member, it's usually a lot cheaper. A couple of the local churches in town also have what they call a funeral ministry. The funeral ministry usually provides a luncheon after the service free of charge, and that can also be a "visitation" time for friends and family.

Of course, that does you no good if you're not religious. A friend of my husband's did not want his wife spending money on his death, and so he asked her to do a potluck at their home after his death. (He had leukemia, so they had plenty of time to talk about it.) It turned out to be very well-attended, and guests thought it a wonderful idea. Though once again, a potluck might not have been an option for your friend's struggling family.

Funeral costs are just outrageous. Around here, cremation isn't much of a cheap option anymore. The funeral homes have jacked their prices up to the point where a cremation costs just a little less than a no-frills burial.

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Response to shrike (Reply #22)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:20 AM

33. Cremation used to be so cheap

but not anymore. And my friends are not religious, though I am.

My church has a funeral ministry. After the service our dining area is opened up and food is served. At the beginning of the year a sign up sheet is posted. If you are interested you sign up to assist. They place members on teams and when there is a funeral a team is picked. When it's your team you receive a phone call a few days in advance and you bring a small entree, a side and a dessert. (Usually in my case, it's a casserole, a jello salad and dump cake.) You drop it off morning of the funeral at the church, on the way to work. That's it and it tends to happen about 4 times a year.

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Response to shrike (Reply #22)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 02:14 PM

74. We skipped the funeral and all for Gram

We're the only family she had, her siblings and friends are already gone, and none of us thought it was necessary- especially for the price.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:13 AM

23. That happens all too often. I have made sure that both my disabled daughter and myself have prepaid

burial plans. Took me years to set them up but I at least know they are there.

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Response to jwirr (Reply #23)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:26 PM

84. That's a good thing.

It makes me realize that I need to set something up soon.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:14 AM

27. It's a damn shame.

Poverty offers up enough indignity to the living. To have one final indignity in death is downright criminal.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:15 AM

28. it used to be cheaper to bury the dead

One of the sons would just get out the adze and make it say "one lick less, one lick less" and having built a pine box would just go out and dig a hole. (note, this is about all I remember from Faulkner's "As I lay dying" which I read in a college class.)

In some ways those kids are poor because they are just starting out. In the old days, they would do things differently. Quite typically a young couple would still be living at home in their first year of marriage, and thus would not be out there struggling to pay rent for their own place.

When I was younger, I used to dream of a socialist world where people would be able to live together and share resources.

Seems like a silly dream now. Live together? Share? These are people we are talking about.

It's not something I want to have knowledge of, but does a funeral really NEED to be expensive? How much would it cost for say, cremation and a service at a church?

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #28)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:22 AM

34. Cremation used to be so cheap

but now they are hiking up the prices since it's becoming a popular option. Now it's not much cheaper than an inexpensive burial.

And if you don't belong to a church...

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #34)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:31 AM

40. $700 on February 1st in Spokane. $22 for a death certificate from the county.Per copy. n/t

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #40)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:35 AM

43. That's in Spokane.

We don't live in Spokane or even Washington.

I remember with my grandfather that we had to pay for transportation to the nearest crematorium, which was over 100 miles from where we lived. That's where they got you-the transportation bills and how it could be transported.

Besides, they couldn't even afford $700. They can't afford a copay for a doctor's appointment, nonetheless $700. (And I bet they wish it were $700!

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #43)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:16 PM

56. There's an echo in here.

Anyway, I was just pointing out the cost. Property and houses, lots of things, actually, are much more expensive than they were in the Midwest where I lived for most of 50 years. One would wonder why it would be more elsewhere, except for someone trying to profit excessively from death, or in a much larger city where things are moderately more expensive.

(Just a note - I get a bi-yearly sales call from one of those pre-arranged cremation services who told me it would save money. They wanted $1700, last time I checked. I saved money by not doing business with them, it turns out).

One of the best parts of the sad situation we just went through was the preacher's assistant in the hospital, comforting the family, who in handing us a list of businesses that could handle the body, said "Now, we aren't supposed to direct you, but we do have them listed in the order that they seem to treat people the best". She put herself out there when she could have left us on our own, and that was nice of her. We had no money for this, and the last SS check was to pay for medical bills, but had to be left for return to SS, so she didn't have enough to even pay for final expenses.

Sure enough, the first one on the list was nice, gracious, and as I posted elsewhere, let me sneak her little dog in to see that "grandma" was gone.

And with no money, instead of a lot of stress over some service, (which, imnsho, is for the living anyway), I suggested we find a way to memorialize her that would have meant something to her. So we contacted the writer's club in she loved so much, had been in for decades, and suggested a fund to pay someone a little extra for their first published magazine story, something she had gotten such pleasure from over the years. There was three or four hundred dollars in it within a week or so. So instead of a bunch of dead flowers and words from some priest that didn't even know her, a writer will get to feel a little of what she enjoyed, and to me, personally, that will be a better memorial than a bunch of people sitting around in a church. And several friends and relatives had a mass said (I guess that's like a prayer?) in their own churches, which doesn't cost the family either.

Btw, you can do your own transport. I have, for another person. And your own memorial, etc. There is no need to pay a bunch of people for other charges unless one wants to, and having been around a lot of death, I have yet to see much of that reduce someone's grief. But someone needs to step up and ask what is required by law and not let the whole process be guided solely by emotion or some supposed tradition, especially where it is encouraged by profit-seeking businesses. People will lie to others for profit in this situation as quickly as most any banker or politician will take money from hungry widows and orphans.




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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #56)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:29 PM

86. If I had a large enough vehicle I would do the transport myself

but my little car can't handle it.

They get you on everything and right now they are all so grief stricken that no one can think straight. In another day or so I'll try to find out what needs done.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #86)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 04:22 PM

95. I don't mean to be irreverent

but I just flashed on the scene from National Lampoons Vacation with Chevy Chase and family driving the car with the dead Grandma on top. Anyone else remember that?

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Response to Frosty1 (Reply #95)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 04:37 PM

98. Yes I do.

Same with the grandfather in Little Miss Sunshine.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #98)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 04:59 PM

104. I had forgotten about that.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #86)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 08:16 PM

115. It's terribly hard, I know. And as they are going through their grief process, they

sometimes lash out, even at people who are trying to help.

I wish you luck, and them some comfort. It's nice to have someone around who cares, and sometimes that's the best one gets.




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Response to hfojvt (Reply #28)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:35 AM

41. Look up "excarnation" some time.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #28)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 02:07 PM

73. Our cremation for my husband was over 2,000 dollars. I had a memorial service for him

at our home. All of our friends brought food, and I was surprised at how many people handed me sympathy cards with money inside. The "Wake" was really lovely, and he would have loved it. He hated "church" and his only favorite hymn was Amazing Grace. I was very lucky, as my children also helped. The food was delicious and I saw people that I hadn't seen in years.

I put out my wedding album and other photos, and it was special to me, and he would have approved. We had plenty of time to discuss what he wanted before he died. I still have his ashes here with me, and when I die, my children will either scatter them or bury them in our family cemetery.

From now on, unless I know that the family is very well off, I will also give a card with a check or cash.

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Response to juajen (Reply #73)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:37 PM

120. How kind. I am touched by the generosity of your friends.

What a terribly sad occasion, but it was so nice that people were there for you and your family.

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Response to juajen (Reply #73)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:55 PM

122. That's what we did for my parents...

I noticed that several of their old friends' adult kids did likewise. Lots of photos and mementos of the deceased. Hugs, food, nice stories, some jokes.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:18 AM

31. The funeral industry preys on the grief-stricken when they can least handle things

Many years ago, when my mother passed away, we expected that she would be buried in her mother's grave, as it was supposed to have been dug extra deeply in order to leave room for my mother in the future.

As it turned out, when the funeral home contacted the cemetery to make burial arrangements, the cemetery "discovered" that my grandmother's grave had not been dug extra deeply, even though my father had paid extra for it to be done.

My mother could not be buried with her mother as she had wished. At the last minute, my father had to spend more money to buy another burial plot some distance away, so that my mother could at least be buried in the same cemetery as her mother.

I had just finished an undergraduate course in consumer protection law at Rutgers University, and raised hell about this with the county government and NJ consumer affairs. They investigated it, but it came to nothing. Nobody was penalized or even reprimanded. I wouldn't be surprised if the owners of the cemetery leaned on some political pals or even passed along a little money to have the investigators called off the case. I was hoping that the cemetery would be forced to give my father a refund because it was their "mistake". I suspect it was done on purpose.

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #31)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:25 AM

36. +1

"The funeral industry preys on the grief-stricken when they can least handle things"

the industry is exploitive and manipulative!! (when my husband passed away I refused to deal with them)

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:28 AM

37. My mom had made no arrangements for herself, so when she died, my brother and I had to

decide what to do. We were horrified at the costs. Neither of us was in any position to spend $15,000 on a funeral! We had mom cremated; I still have her urn, and when my brother and I actually see each other again (he is mostly overseas), we will scatter her ashes in one of her favorite places.

Ten years ago, a simple cremation was $1,000. And the funeral home tried to sell us a $6,000 casket along with that! And I know darn well they wouldn't have burned up a metal casket! My mom was a recluse and not a churchgoer, so we there would be no one to to come to a memorial and no where to have a memorial of any kind; my brother and i were her only remaining relatives. From what I hear here, THAT would have cost a mint, too.

We did place a nice obituary in the paper ($150!!) in case she had acquaintances we didn't know about. I feel we did the best we could under the circumstances, but what on earth does stuff cost now? I shudder to think.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:28 AM

38. My brother Pinkie died in October

They picked the body up at his house creamated him and put him in a plastic bag for $3000.00 No funeral, got him on a shelf and will spred the ashes this summer. How much profit is in a funeral anyway.

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Response to sorefeet (Reply #38)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:31 PM

87. $3000 is a decent price

but they can't afford even that right now.

I think they are being suckered in and it scares me.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:31 AM

39. My father passed away last year...

On Memorial Day. He had been sick for some time (emphysema, type II diabetes, and heart failure). My sister and I couldn't afford to even cremate him. If it weren't for my grandparents still being around, I don't know what we would've done. My sister and I both work full time (I have a P/T job and a home business). I'm in FL (where my dad was) and she's in LA. It was hard enough for her to get time off to come here. You're right. It shouldn't be like this.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:35 AM

42. win win organ donor

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:38 AM

44. Have you contacted these people in your state?

The third paragraph has a cremation offering of $1,000. Surely the family and their friends can scrape that amount up.

I had my mother's remains cremated for that amount. They were very nice to deal with. They treated her remains well and were very kind to me.

http://www.bistatecremation.com/fh/home/home.cfm?fh_id=12457

Twenty four hour phone number: 314-831-8868

Thank you for visiting Bi-State Cremation and Funeral Service. We are a diverse group of funeral directors licensed in Missouri and Illinois. We are dedicated to serving our St. Louis, Missouri community. For all families within our service radius, we offer in home final arrangements. We are your St. Louis cremation service, but we also serve families from our home base St. Louis, Missouri to Springfield, Illinois to Jefferson City, Missouri, and all other counties within 250 mile radius of St. Louis, Missouri. We can do this because we are licensed funeral directors in Missouri and Illinois.

Although we specialize in cremation we offer many affordable funeral options for your loved one. Please do not hesitate to speak with one of our Missouri and Illinois Licensed funeral directors to address your cremation or funeral needs at our 24 hour phone number 314-831-8868. We can also be contacted by email at Bistatecremation@sbcglobal.net Feel free to Stop by and see us 3387 N. Highway 67, Florissant, Missouri 63033.

Do Inquire about our Loved and remembered cremation Offering $1,000.00 complete direct cremation with your choice of any of our marble or brass urns included in the above price. The Loved and remembered Cremation offering, our complete selection of urns, along with our other cremation and non cremation services can be purchased at our sister site Click here to visit the Funeral Cremation Urns website. www.FuneralCremationurns.com Quality Service for everyone, within the means of anyone. That is our promise! Thank you, may God bless you. www.BistateCremationandFuneral.com

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Response to lunatica (Reply #44)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:10 PM

55. I just finally looked at this

and will have to check out the radius. We might be too far and will have to look at Kansas instead, which could involve state line transportation fees.

It'll be close on the radius. I'll look it up.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #44)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 06:03 PM

107. Believe it or not, $1,000 is an impossible amount of money for a poor family.

I know. I was born into a poor family and that didn't change until I finished college (a state university on government grants and loans). My family members couldn't come up with $200 for an emergency situation. Some times just buying gas for automobiles to get to work was difficult.

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #107)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 06:41 PM

110. I do understand that

I'm not poor, but at the time of my mother's death I had to reach out to my union and ask them if they had a fund to help people in need because I was already on the road to filing for bankruptcy and there was no way I could pay for her cremation because her income was ending at her death (we lived together, sharing expenses, so a loss of more than $1,000 was devastating). My union didn't have a fund, but a few union members donated money to help me. I still get tears in my eyes just thinking about their generosity. The reason they gave was that they had all lost a parent and they know how important it was to bury or cremate them. I had started the whole process of bankruptcy and eventually to foreclosure and had used up my own retirement fund just to take care of her. I just wanted to make sure she died in her own home and in peace. I knew I would had hell to pay after her death, but I was determined that the end of her life would be trouble free. I was very lucky to have friends in my union who helped me.

I really do get it.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:40 AM

45. In writing about the miseries of the people in the East End of London at the


turn of the last century, Jack London described how families would wrap their dead children and put them on a cool shelf in the back until they could spare the pennies, that were needed to provide gas for cooking and heating, to bury them.

Maybe we haven't advanced as far as we think.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:52 AM

50. What you are really saying is that they can not afford to dispose of a body.

A very wonderful service can be done by family and friends anywhere, any time. When my father in law died My husband and his brother and sister made up the service , provided the music and a friend who had been a minister added his two cents. It was a lovely time together. I hope that your friend and her family take the time to do this, be it in someone's home, at a park or a church...anywhere.

My father died and we could not make the trip. For his birthday that same year he had requested that instead of singing Happy Birthday we play it on kazoos. He died at Christmas so my husband , son , friend and I went to dad's village where he grew up and sat in the park and kazooed Christmas carols in his memory. We did this on the same day as others were having his funeral 1400 miles away. It is a memory that none of us will forget.

Now back to the body. I hope that your friend can get enough money to bury her loved one as cost effectively as possible. Make sure she knows that the frills can be free and memorable with some imagination!

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:00 PM

52. If it had not been for Vet's benefits I would not have been able to have my father cremated

I simply did not have any money and he died. The Veteran's Administration paid a couple of hundred dollars and that plus what I had got him cremated. No ceremony, no grave site, nothing but a stainless steel can with a bunch of crunchy bone parts and heavy ashes in it. There is a glued-on paper sticker on the outside of the can that has his name and dates of birth and death on it.

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Response to 1-Old-Man (Reply #52)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:22 PM

124. Veterans

Aren't veterans entitled to a gravesite in a national cemetery? My ex is a veteran, but is disabled now and basically broke. Our three sons will have to handle the arrangements when he passes, and none of them has any money. They don't even know what happened to the body of their grandmother (my ex's mother) after she died penniless. Probably potter's field, because there was no one able to pay anything towards any kind of funeral arrangements...

On edit, a timely story:

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/02/26/2708304/counties-cope-as-indigent-burials.html

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:02 PM

53. This is America!

America shouldn't be like this! You would think the most developed country in the world would help people bury their dead.

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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Reply #53)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 12:45 AM

140. Yeah, it is America...

owned and operated by the 1%.

They don't even want to pay us a living wage...or perhaps, even any wage.

And they will happily rip us off for whatever they can get when we are grieving for our loved ones.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:23 PM

59. A friend of mine recently buried her father...

 

...with the help of IndieGoGo.
Saddest 50 bucks I ever spent.

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Response to RevStPatrick (Reply #59)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 12:31 AM

139. Thanks for the link. . .

it may come in handy some day.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:41 PM

60. My wife and I have the same plan for each other- cremation, no service, no visitation, no urn.

We don't live in the same state as any of our families, so we're not even going to bother with a death announcement.

Our friends are scattered all over the country/world, so none of the traditional trappings of death make sense for us.

The last time we looked into the cost (3-4 years ago), it would have ran about $2,800.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #60)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:57 PM

62. My parents have a similar plan set up for themselves.

No add-ons of any kind. Their arrangement calls for them to be transported from wherever they are (even if they die overseas - they travel a lot), cremated, and poured into the Gulf of Mexico. That is all. My folks call it the Bake & Shake plan. I don't know how much it cost them.

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Response to Mariana (Reply #62)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:41 PM

70. I thought about being incorporated into an artificial reef..

http://www.eternalreefs.com/

Might be something fun.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #60)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:39 PM

69. So do we. Prepaid plan, with the ashes of the first to go saved until the other one does. Then,

 

the ashes will be co-mingled and dispersed at sea.

It seems so foolish for survivors to be put in a position of going into debt because of guilt (or some other emotion), when arrangements can be made by the living so easily.

We will all die, so why not plan ahead for this certainty.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 02:43 PM

75. San Diego COunty has a Indigent Burial & Cremation Program

http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/hhsa/programs/papg/indigent_burial_program.html

You might check to see if the local county has a similar program.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:00 PM

77. It's ugly in the pediatric hospice business. You can't get grants to help pay for funeral costs.

I'm a pediatric hospice nurse. Funeral help is what a lot of the parents want.

It's not warm and fuzzy. So foundations don't want to help with it. Catholic Charities sometimes helps. But, they say you can't bring flowers to the funeral because "if you can afford flowers, you can afford a funeral".

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Response to mucifer (Reply #77)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:07 PM

78. I've heard this before from a friend who used to work

in peds. She made comments about something similar about the flowers.

It's a sad, nasty business all the way around.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:21 PM

81. When my aunt died, my uncle had no life insurance on her

he nor his grown kids could afford her funeral. My sister and I both went in together and gave them 6k to bury her. We'll never see a dime f that money back and that's ok. However, I did tell her four daughters that they had better make certain that they take enough life insurance out on their father for when he passes because I won't be able to help with his funeral costs. Otherwise they will have to be satisfied with a simple cremation when he passes.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:26 PM

85. My Mother went for cremation .

The cremation place was doing a "Store Opening" sale and she knew she was not really going to make entering year six of having pancreatic cancer. So she got a cremation with no frills deal for $500. That cheep skate of a father would not even splurge for a urn, but that is another story...

The prices were and are to much for most people. And one would be surprised at how hard it is to get life insurance at a certain age. You can be young when you first get it or you can be over a certain age to get it at a decent price. However when you are in between... Ouch!

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 04:05 PM

90. for the price of a funeral and burial etc.

my fam can cremate my shell and take what's left to Grand Cayman (near Aqua Bay, south of cemetary beach). I'd like to be scattered there. I'd like to be a part of reef and the beach. I'd like my daughters to have an excuse for visit my favorite place. I'm sooo happy and grounded and awed there, part of my soul is there already.

Also beats mouldering underground.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 04:09 PM

91. not even an urn...

I have already planned and paid for my cremation.I won't see my kids go through what my brother and I did with our mom.
It's all about the money to these funeral parlors.
They tried to talk me into an expensive urn because they said I would be put in a plastic bag inside a cardboard box and wouldn't that traumatize my daughter? I said no my ashes will be scattered but they kept up, So I said I will call my daughter and ask. I put her on speaker phone and bless her heart she says " no momma, I'll just slap a couple of smiley face stickers on the box and we'll call it good" the look on the funeral directors face was PRICELESS!!!

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 04:10 PM

92. My mother donated her body to the Medical College of Va.

for research/teaching purposes. We had a memorial service for her later. Worked out great all the way around.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 04:40 PM

99. Carwashes/bake sales/marches for cancer treatment..begging for funeral expenses

Pretty much the norm for all but the super-wealthy..

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 04:50 PM

101. What pisses me off is if the family wants to see the loved one, any visitation

after the one day they give you is 500 dollars a day.

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Response to Autumn (Reply #101)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 02:40 AM

148. That is horrible; I'm so sorry. Our experience with my mother was much, much kinder

Mom wanted her body donated to science -- but she had just moved to be near my brother when she died, and the university medical school was in another state entirely. So my brother scrambled to get his local university med school to accept her "donation," which they did. The only place to keep her until they picked her up was a local mortuary, which had the requisite refrigerator.

My sister and I scrambled to get there, and we did want to see her one last time. The mortuary people, who mind you were getting nothing from us for their services (maybe had some arrangement with the university), offered to lay Mom out in a side chapel that was undergoing remodeling and so not in use for someone's funeral. She was draped in a heavy white cotton blanket and her head was on a pilow. She had been washed, but otherwise undisturbed. No mortuary makeup meant she was waxy-pale. Fancy it was not, but it was what we needed -- Sis and I had Mom to ourselves and were able to talk quietly. Mom was at peace at last after all the storms of her last few years. Shortly after we were done, the med school's ambulance came for her body.

I guess my family and I have been lucky, but these people were kind to us.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 06:36 PM

109. I recently read The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford

The author explores the way that the funeral industry takes advantage of people at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives.

[link:http://www.amazon.com/American-Way-Death-Revisited/dp/0679771867|

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Response to prole_for_peace (Reply #109)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 08:46 PM

117. I read it years ago.

What a fantastic book!

Did you know she passed on right before she finished the book? It was a mission of sorts for her to revisit the topic she wrote about back in 1963 and see how much it had changed. Turns out it was even worse than before.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #117)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 09:19 PM

157. It is such a scam.

I have made sure everyone knows that I do not want to be embalmed and that I want cremation in the least expensive casket available. If I can be cremated in a cardboard box then that is even better.

My ideal exit would be to just be thrown in the forest for the animals to eat. After I'm dead of course.

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Response to prole_for_peace (Reply #157)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 09:29 PM

158. I read an article once about death midwives

and it really left an impact. They help a family plan for the inevitable in cases of terminal illnesses and they take care of all the funeral arraignments. Most deal with the cardboard box type and burial in natural cemeteries.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 07:17 PM

112. .

.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:40 PM

121. Our grandbaby's funeral cost about $1,000. Cremation, no cemetery plot, church service & reception.

It was really quite beautifully done. There was an outpouring of grief and support, as is normal at such times, and while my daughter was just stunned at the prospect of planning I told her, "This is for others to do."

Every time someone asked me "What can I do?" I gave them a task. Friends donated flowers for the altar, and they were potted plants that could be planted later. Friends brought trays of food to the reception in the church hall. Friends put up the tables and put them away again. Friends cleaned up the church kitchen afterward. The cost of the church and hall were not exorbitant. The woman at the mortuary was kind and compassionate.

When someone asks what they can do, give them a task.

The cost of a funeral can be obscene. At a time when mourners are just stunned out of their minds, they can be talked into spending more than they can reasonably afford in order to show their love and respect. In truth, how you spend your life thereafter is the way to show your love and respect for the departed. You have to be strong to resist this kind of pressure. You have to be willing to ask for help and to receive help when it is offered.

I greatly recommend cremation. Both my husband and I plan that for ourselves.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #121)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:22 PM

123. I spoke with the friend.


They nearly have enough for an inexpensive cremation, which is what they are planning to do. I have promised food and paper plates and someone else has promised some succulents for a display. Yet another person has offered to go through the family photographs and make a display for the memorial service.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #123)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 01:59 AM

147. Hugs to you all

It's so hard. I do know.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:29 PM

125. Funerals have been giant rip-offs

for decades. Jessica Mitford wrote a book about in 1964.

Get cremated, scatter the ashes. Have the friends/family get together afterward for a toast.

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Response to RudynJack (Reply #125)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:41 PM

130. She revisited the subject in 1996

right before she died.

She'd found that things were even worse than before.

That book has really stayed with me over the years.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #130)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:55 PM

135. Yes she did.

She was a wonderful muckraker. Her whole family was very interesting.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:36 PM

127. Wages have been allowed to fall too far over the last 40 years

We can't afford to get sick and our families can't afford to have us forgo medical care and die.

If they want to keep charging first world prices for goods and services here in the US, they're going to have to start paying first world wages.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #127)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:45 PM

132. Good luck with the wages.

I'm not doing well but I do better than some.

Something like this can financially devastate a family.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #132)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 12:14 AM

138. Most of the problems facing this country

including the decreased revenue stream, stem from DEPRESSED WAGES.

You can't starve labor into prosperity.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #138)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 12:50 AM

144. I know that and you know that

but the powers that be don't know it or don't care.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:37 PM

128. My mother and father want to be cremated and no service at all.

Just have a dinner with family and a few friends. I want to be cremated and have a church service. My remains will be in the wall at my church.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:44 PM

131. my country's government pays death benefits to help with funeral

When my son and husband died I got $2500 for each of them to help with funeral expenses. They were cremated in cardboard boxes, naked with a sheet around them. There was no visitation or funeral ceremony. I had memorials for each of them in the local high school cafetorium where my son had graduated. Friends helped and many came. The cafeteria cost $400 to use. They didn't want anything fancy. I thought both memorials were caring and honored their lives with music they liked and speeches about them. My husband, older son and my deceased son's widow was there when my son was cremated. I pushed the button to send him on to the hereafter. I saw him born and was with him when he died. The three of us were there in the crematorium when I pushed the button to send my husband 18 months later.

They both died of cancer. There were no medical bills. We have one payer. What a blessing. I kept their ashes and scattered both of them on our favorite beach (in the fall when there were no people around).

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Response to riverbendviewgal (Reply #131)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:47 PM

133. If only this was an option

families wouldn't have to fret and panic about how to pay for a funeral.

$2500 could pay for the cremation and a very small service.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #133)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 12:04 AM

136. Social Security pays a small benefit here...

one-time payment of $255 can be paid to the surviving spouse if he or she was living with the deceased; or, if living apart, was receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceased's record. If there is no surviving spouse, the payment is made to a child who is eligible for benefits on the deceased's record in the month of death.

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10008.html

The VA also has benefits available.
http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/benefits_book/benefits_chap07.asp

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Response to Historic NY (Reply #136)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 12:47 AM

142. There's a big difference between $255 and the $2500 mentioned

$2500 really is enough to deal with the situation.

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Response to xmas74 (Reply #133)

Mon Mar 4, 2013, 01:26 PM

161. It did for me

covered almost all of it.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 12:46 AM

141. My mother, who had been a nurse,

made plans a good twenty years before her death to have her body go to the local medical school to be a dissection cadaver. We had a small service for her at a funeral home -- she wasn't a churchgoer so that wasn't an option -- and then food afterwards back at her house.

About a year after she died her cremated remains were sent to me. It took several more years, but eventually we were able to scatter her ashes in a location that she'd wanted.

Aside from the fact that this was exactly what she chose, there were almost no expenses connected to any of this. Whatever small fee the funeral home charged for an hour or so there, and that was it. Well, there was the cost of food after, but again that wasn't very much. I don't think as many as twenty people were there, including her six children and a couple of spouses. She'd been retired for nearly twenty years and led a quiet life, so there simply weren't that many people to attend a service.

In your friend's case, I don't know if donating her body at this point is even an option. There are many people that would feel creeped out at the thought of mom being dissected. For us, we'd known for years that's what our mom wanted, and we were all fine with that.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #141)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 12:53 AM

145. They've decided on the most inexpensive cremation they can find

I'm supplying food, another person is bringing some plants to warm the room up a bit. Someone else volunteered the use of their home for a memorial.

It's still sad that they are begging for money to help with an inexpensive cremation. They can't help it-no one has any to spare after the bills are paid.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 08:02 AM

149. Can you give us a link to their donation account

I would be willing to donate some money to them and so would, I think, other DU'ers.

When I was in basic training, one of my drill sergeant's pulled out my dog tags and looked at the part that had religious affiliation. Mine said, "No Religious Preference." This was before you could choose atheist. He yelled at me and said, "No religious preference! I guess that means if you die, we can just throw you in a hold and kick some dirt on top of you?" I yelled back, "YES DRILL SGT!"

I like the idea of cremation and a home wake. I am going to set funds aside in my will to provide for a helluva party. I would like my family to gather and tell stories, jokes and remembrances of me in someone's home, not some $500 a day fake sympathy funeral home. We spent $6000 on my grandmother's funeral (in addition to the pre-paid plot she had already purchased). It was a ridiculous amount of money that she would not have approved.

Funeral directors do use guilt to up-sell the family more expensive products and services. It is a vile practice.

Ideally, I would like a funeral pyre, but they are illegal and probably not a very efficient way of getting rid of the body. I live on 8 acres and have entertained the thought of having a home funeral plot but the funeral industry has lobbied politicians to pass laws that make that process nearly impossible.

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Response to Mortos (Reply #149)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 02:15 PM

153. I will give out the link via pm.

I just don't want that info broadcast. There are some insensitive people who might take advantage of that info.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 08:25 AM

150. The funeral industry is a money grubbing racket.

There is no reason for the thousands of dollars of charges they guilt people into paying.

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Response to alphafemale (Reply #150)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 02:15 PM

154. Exactly. nt

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 11:42 AM

151. Funerals are free, burials optional

 

This gets my goat. The funeral industry has convinced us funerals are to be held at funeral homes, at considerable expense.

A friend recently passed. His church hosted a potluck/visitation/memorial service one evening. It was a beautiful time of rememberance and fellowship. Didn't cost the family a penny.

As suggested above, consider donating the body for research. If not possible, shop for cremation. It's not that expensive.

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Response to michigandem58 (Reply #151)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 02:18 PM

155. They decided on cremation

Due to the cost. I'm providing food someone else music another plants and another is picking out pictures to display.

They are still raising money for the cremation.

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Response to xmas74 (Original post)

Mon Mar 4, 2013, 12:09 AM

159. My uncle recently went through this.

Last edited Mon Mar 4, 2013, 12:40 AM - Edit history (1)

His wife, only 61, passed completely unexpectedly after a massive stroke (lifelong smoker). My uncle, who had just recently gone back to work after a long period of unemployment (they lost their house after 23 years) couldn't pay for the funeral. They weren't going to release the body until he could pay! Can that get any more gruesome? Luckily, family members took up a collection and he was able to provide a proper burial. I have to wonder, though, what happens when the families just can't afford to pay? Pauper's grave? What?

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #159)

Mon Mar 4, 2013, 07:43 AM

160. In this case,

they've decided to have a cremation and a memorial service. They're still raising money for the cremation but hope to have it all soon. Many places are getting rid of the potter's fields of the past. Instead of a pauper's grave they are cremating and then holding the remains until the family can pay.

This is something that goes beyond politics. Many of us, no matter the affiliation, know someone who has gone through this and most of us are disgusted with what happens. The question is: what can be done ?

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