As my family approaches the one year anniversary of my mother’s passing, I am looking forward to the upcoming visit from my brothers and their families, who live out of state. We are planning to go out to the cemetery together, as we did a year ago, to pay respects to an amazing mother, grandmother, wife and friend.
At our last gathering all together, my mother’s funeral, it was sort of a blur. Actually, life was sort of a blur for a few weeks during the time just before ovarian cancer took her life and the weeks after she passed. I don’t remember every thoughtful person who sent condolences or everyone who was kind enough to bring food and comfort. Nor do I remember what I said at the service or how I even managed to speak at all. What I do remember about that blurry couple of weeks is that I didn’t have to worry about my mother’s funeral expenses and arrangements. My parents had the foresight to make those arrangement years ago, long before mom was diagnosed. They had already secured their side-by-side plots and knew who would handle the arrangements. Their pre-planning made a world of difference during that fuzzy, sad, overwhelming couple of weeks. Instead of struggling to find a cemetery or figure out how to pay the cost of the funeral, we were able to focus on each other and on remembering my mom.
When I read an article recently about frugal funeral expenses, it reminded me of how fortunate I am to have parents who had the wisdom to plan their arrangements (and save for them) years in advance. The article, from the wonderful Dollar Stretcher newsletter, offers sound advice about making your wishes clear to those responsible for carrying out the arrangements. It also includes a number of different frugal suggestions for flowers, thank you cards and the location of the memorial service. Although none of us wants to think about having to make these decisions, I am thankful that I did not have to make them during a time when I barely had the presence of mind to make cereal.
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