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My MIL and FIL are in their mid 80’s and currently living in AL/MC. They retired 26 years ago and moved out of state. They moved back here approx 5 years ago. Due to being out of the area for over 20 years and in AL and with memory issues the past several years, they have lost touch with most of their friends, their former church family, etc. The few friends that still live in the area are in similar state of memory issues/poor health. Few of our friends really knew them as they chose not to be active/involved in any of our lives. (Long story) They had previously planned to be buried in a neighboring state where they are originally from, having bought cemetery plots there in 1968.


My husband and I have discussed what will happen when they pass away. Other than our immediate family, my BIL and his immediate family, who live 1500 miles away, and a handful of our close friends, I doubt anyone would attend a funeral for them. They have not been part of a church in this area in over 26 years, so there is not even a pastor who knows them. They have not been very good with finances, so we are trying to stretch their funds as far as possible. At this point it seems foolish to pay the expense of transporting their remains to another state where nobody in their family lives to hold a funeral and bury them. We discussed possibly having them cremated and taking their remains that way-to save money. We would have a memorial service here with our friends and immediate family. Does this seem appropriate? Inappropriate? FIL is somewhat cognizant of things, but MIL is too far gone to really understand. Should we attempt to discuss it with him? This is so hard to balance the practical and financial realities with what their wishes were at one time. They even purchased a headstone already and engraved their names and birthdates in it. At a loss...

Because the cost will probably fall to you it seems, I would have them cremated. When both were gone, I then would take them home. Have a small graveside service. A minister would be nice or a layman from a local Church. Then go and have a nice lunch.

You may get away having both put in the same plot.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 4, 2019
Yes, JoAnn.

Very sensible suggestion. Lots of people do this. Perfectly acceptable.
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I can only attest to what I have done. I transported my dearly departed wife from Nevada to Illinois for funeral and burial. cost me a small fortune. I chose not to have services in NV. because only one of her friends ever visited her. At least back there I have family that helped me.
I don't really see a need to have a full blown funeral but a grave side service might be nice.
How far would you have to transport them? That would be a big expense. You could arrange immediate burial and reduce expenses some.

Others will be along with their suggestions.
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Thank you for your experiences and your perspectives. We are in Dallas and the plots they purchased are in Shreveport. About 3+ hrs away. They also bought plots for my husband and BIL and when we suggested they sell those to recoup a little money (they have very little left) they could not conceive why their sons would not be buried there. The fact that they have wives, children and lives in other states was not a consideration. *sigh* So there are actually 4 plots in a very desirable area of that cemetery. The profit from selling them could go toward their care. We could also do an even trade with a cemetery here, but a few years ago, when they were more lucid they would not hear of it. Their funeral expenses are not paid. They tried to buy pre-paid plans at the tune of $25k per person, a few years ago and we were able to help them see that they could not afford to empty their savings for that. That was all they had for their current expenses. I guess we’ll just have to cross that bridge when we get to it. I’m the type of person who likes to do research ahead of time and thoughtfully consider all my options so I don’t make an emotion driven knee jerk reaction. That is why I’m trying to weigh the pros and cons now, so we can discuss it as a family and come to a concensus.
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ACaringDaughter Apr 6, 2019
It sounds like you know just what they want, after all.

Respect their wishes. It is only right to bury them in the plots they selected more than 50 years ago. If your husband and BIL want to get rid of their own plots, that is fine, but respect their wishes. Karma is real!
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Cost is important. Don’t do something that is over your budget.

Let me share something my dear grandmother always said to everyone. “Give me flowers while I am living.” She felt too much emphasis was placed on funerals. I agree. It is more important to show love to others while alive.

My grandmother had respect for everyone, including the dead. She grieved, mourned but most importantly she showed enormous love to people while they were alive.
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Less is more in my opinion. I’d not discuss it with the in-laws and when the time comes do whatever you find simplest for your family that’s here. Funerals are to comfort the living, not being added stress as they far too often wind up doing.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 5, 2019
So true! Big fancy weddings and large funerals are stressful!
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my father did not want a funeral service or wake. Just as well because he wasn’t getting one anyway He just wanted a cremation. my husband and I already had to pay for my mothers because of his gambling

so when he died (88) i informed my aunt who let others know. My friend put me in touch with a lovely funeral director from her church. As I was in another state they took care of everything when I arrived three days later we just sat down. Picked the cheapest coffin, put funeral notice in both major papers and a really nice floral display for the casket

the funeral company did a great job
i was the only one present. I put his tam o shantor on the casket and said goodbye. It was actually very nice

he did request that his ashes be taken to Scotland and spread throughout the highlands but he currently resides in the garage
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JoAnn29 Apr 3, 2019
I was talking to a DIL of friends of my parents. Her FIL had pasted and she asked her MIL what she wanted for her funeral. MIL said to be cremated and then buried with her Mom and husband both had also been cremated. DIL asked where were they now? MIL said, well Moms under the Birdbath out back and Bill is in the cellar in the filing cabinet under B.
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Are you the POA? If so, you can sell the plots without their knowledge. If they ever ask, you can say, "Remember, you already took care of that." It's just like selling a vacation property they will never use again.

The really cheap method we have chosen for my mthr is donating her body. In this way, she can be useful after her death for some kind of researchers (she was a scientific researcher herself). Cremation is free and the ashes are usually returned within a year or interred, your choice. A local university hospital has an interment ceremony once a year in their flower garden. The place we chose sprinkles remains over the Pacific Ocean where mthr always wanted to go on an expedition. Best part is that it is free when you are within a certain number of miles of a contracted location.
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DILKimba Apr 5, 2019
Yes, my husband is POA. Thanks for that reminder. I need to have him look in to that-at the very least selling his and his brother’s, to help some with finances.
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I am in sort of the same circumstances--6 years ago my husband and I moved back to city we were born in and both of us had family in. He lived for 15 months and died of a massive stroke at 71 (I am 4 years older, this was second marriage for both of us) There were still plenty of his family and friends to attend memorial services--he was cremated, and I buried 3/4 of the ashes in the plot his mother had purchased for him (but not for me, although I presume there is room for my ashes there). I saved some of the ashes to be buried with mine in my father's family plot about 120 miles away. Moving back to my hometown, I discovered that my old friends have either died or moved away. I have made some new friends, and I hope some of them will attend my memorial, and I have also joined a church, probably for the same reason! However, what my children do with my remains is up to them, I can only offer suggestions as to what I would like. I am collecting photos that I want displayed on computer screen and I have readings and music that I want played given to my 2 children. Will they follow my wishes? They will probably fight over them as they do over everything else! By then, it won't matter to me.
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Well. The happy thought is that there is absolutely no need to make any decisions about this now.

When the time comes, you will know with more certainty a) how much money there is and b) - to a lesser extent, but still - what the surviving spouse's requirements are likely to be.

At that time, if you can comply with their wishes, do. If you can't, get as close as possible; and I'd agree that interring their ashes in their state of origin sounds about right. Meanwhile, you'd better find out if the burial plots have a resale value - not so as to put them straight on the market, just for information and so you would know hypothetically what the procedure is.

Try not to muddy the waters when thinking about this: don't second-guess them, and justify not complying with their wishes because it's a better idea to x, y, z. Do them the courtesy of assuming that they knew what they were about when they made their plans. You are then left with a much tidier - and, yes, colder and more clinical - decision-making process of yes/no answers based on pure numerical values.
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Could you just consider a very simple ceremony and bury them where they purchased the plots given that those were their wishes when they were of sound mine. I don't think you should be concerned with the number of people who would attend. If the costs have already been paid it would seem that there would not be much added expense. It sounds as though the travel would not be far. If you choose cremation which personally I am in favor of you could wait until both have passed and bury the remains at the same time. Personally I would just concern myself with the honor you are bestowing them and not the number of individuals that would most likely not be present. I wish you the best with your decisions.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 4, 2019
Would be nice if they want to do as you suggest. Although, cremation is practical. It’s hard to think about these things but it’s inevitable.
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