Now that I live in a Senior Complex, I am more aware of people dying.Yes, it’s true – we are all going to die. Nobody gets out of this life…alive. And furthermore, you can’t take it with you. Turns out all the clichés we’ve ever heard on the subject are true! Gotta laugh.
I remember chuckling under my breath when, decades ago, Aunt Esther and Uncle Willy announced that they had chosen and paid for their burial plots in the Jewish cemetery. Oy vey! I thought at the time, which was somewhere in my early twenties. Now, I find myself checking online for the bargain cremation.
I started calling the numbers after perusing the websites such as: cheapestcremation.com, directcremation.com, and efuneral.com. Boy, did I get an education! I will admit, I had to scrounge up some courage before making that first call to the bargain site that advertised the complete package for $598. Such a deal!
As I answered the questions posed to me by the interviewer, I suddenly realized I was speaking to a call-center. The call had the same tone as when I call the late-night TV number for “Miracle Blade,” or “World’s Best Teeth Whitener.” But wait, there’s more!
If you play your cards right, you can get burned for free! Just donate your body to a medical university and you can be a bright student’s personal cadaver. Oh, but then he/she would see my breast implants and know that my spectacular gazungas were fake. Decisions, decisions.
After a few phone calls in search of the best cluck for my buck, I started cutting to the chase early in the conversation. When asked the leading sales questions such as, “Has your loved one already passed away?” and “When would you like to come in to discuss the options?” I probably seemed abrupt and rude as I cut them off with a strong voice, “I’m calling for myself. I’m not dead yet! I want the rock bottom price for a prepaid direct cremation; cardboard burning box, plastic urn for the ashes, no viewing, no service, no obituary – just the cremation. My son will pick up the ashes, so no delivery fee.
I was quite clear on what I wanted and I was determined to prepay so my kids would not be burdened with this chore. I will not subject them to be taken advantage of while in the initial stages of grief at the passing of their mom, and the salesperson tries to up-sell you on all the stuff. And then I read an article published by Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-alderman/keeping-funeral-costs-aff_b_2535955.html 2535955.html
I went on to read another in USA Today that exposed companies that collect a load of pre-paid fees and go out of business. The kids get stuck with the bill after all. Better to put the cash somewhere where the kids can get at it and carry out your wishes at the appropriate time which could be tomorrow or twenty-seven years from now.
I sat down with my trusty yellow pad and wrote it all out. Everything. The holographic will, legal in California as long as you follow the guidelines, instructions for my cremation, the list of people to contact, and the party/spreading of ashes. I want to keep it small and fun, so I decided to set the money aside for a Burial-at-Sea aboard the Chardonnay (of course it has to be the Chardonnay), with Mumm’s Brut champagne to be served with the first course – escargot- to be followed by Maine lobster served with Kendall Jackson Chardonnay. Salsa music shall be played, of course.
Oh, and don’t forget Felicia, my faithful flamingo. I found her in Miami Beach, when I moved there in 2002. I looked high and low for a real flamingo and gave up even though I was told there were a bunch of them living at the Hialeah Race Track. I just bought my own. She has been a loyal companion who has accompanied me to Costa Rica, back to Capitola, back to Costa Rica, then to Green Valley Lake, and once again, to Capitola. Where I go, she goes.
The instructions I wrote out are specific; I want my ashes thrown off the Chardonnay Sailboat accompanied by Felicia – she will need a rock tied around her neck to make sure she sinks.
Well, I think I covered all the bases. The kids have been informed. I must make a point to keep my apartment in good shape so they get the $800 security deposit back. It’s to be used to buy the booze for the party on the boat!
I want to have just a small intimate group of family and friends at the event. I ran into an old friend the other day and I was telling her about my brilliant plan. Her face lit up, she turned to look at me with a sparkle in her eye and asked, “Am I on the boat?”
“Oh yes, of course!” I lied. And then if I invite her, I have to invite so-and-so, and there goes the small, intimate group. Not a bad problem to have…I might need a bigger boat!