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Also, my brother was cremated. Don’t know what my other brothers will do. Well, one says he also wants cremation. My mother was very upset to cremate my oldest brother at first. Then she accepted it. I had to make the arrangements. My oldest daughter went with me. My brothers didn’t even offer.


Not sure if she really wants this or not.


She has a bad memory of her neighbor being cremated and another neighbor passed out spoons to sprinkle the ashes in her flower garden!


My mother couldn’t do it. She wasn’t interested in scooping out some ashes and putting them in the garden. Creeped her out.


She says most of our family is dead, her friends have died so she feels it’s a waste to have a wake and funeral. I understand what she is saying but she is a lifelong devout Catholic and I told her we could have a funeral mass with a short viewing before the service. That is how Catholic funerals were done before having the priest say mass at the funeral parlor. Some people still do it all in the church. She seemed to smile when I mentioned that. I want her true desire to be expressed and not to say something just because she thinks we want to hear it. Any suggestions are appreciated?

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We are in the opposite end of the spectrum where my mom expects me to hire AirForce one to fly her body to Ohio and put on a million dollar funeral for her. Trouble is; she doesn’t have a million dollars and has alienated everyone in the family and has only one surviving friend and that lady is on her last leg. I had to tell her that her budget covers cremation, a nice urn and a car trip to be buried with my father. I would be very grateful if my mother was more realistic.
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Tluther,

My gosh! Things can get so out of hand with funerals. You are right to do exactly as you feel about this. Who can afford something so extravagant unless the person is very wealthy.
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In response to your follow-up posts about being overwhelmed with caregiving. I'm not sure if some people just feel an incredible duty to provide care to a parent no matter what, but, to me, it's advisable to take a step back and see just how reasonable it is. I read where you are considering looking at facilities and you are concerned about so many aspects of the facility and care she would get. I often wonder what the reaction would be if they told you there would be one caregiver for her who would work 24/7 and have no time off. Often, that's what loving caregivers do and they are surprised when they collapse from mental and/or mental exhaustion. I'd try to get some help in the home or explore other options, before you do suffer yourself. I only provided hands on care for a short time and suffered serious health consequences later. It took me a year to recover from them.

I am all for respecting our elders, however, sometimes, I think we may need to overrule their denials, protests and magical thinking, when it involves our own health and welfare. That's important too. I hope you can find the answers you need.
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Thanks, Sunny

Sorry the last couple of days has been rough. It's catching up to me. Mom has been with me for so long, since 2005! I feel so lost at times. I know you are giving me good advice. Just trying to process everything.
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You have a lot on your plate, but there are resources available, this forum, for one! God bless you for all you are doing!

I work in a Catholic church and they are also able to help. A priest can visit to anoint your mother, hear her confession if she is interested, and give ALL of you the Eucharist besides talking with you about end-of-life issues and funeral arrangements. They can also have someone bring the Eucharist to your home weekly.

As far as funerals, anything goes! Cremation is absolutely accepted, but, as one person said, the Catholic church expects to have the ashes at a cemetery rather than in a home, to show the proper care and respect. You can have a wake the night before or the morning of a special Mass, but if you have been "holed up" in your home for 10 years, there may not be many there...watch your time frame. On the other hand, wakes are a time for people to come support YOU, to celebrate your Mom's life with you.

Yes, funeral home costs are high, but you get what you pay for. Some at our church have tried skipping the funeral home entirely and then are surprised they have to make decisions and coordinate everything in their grief. Others are fine doing that.

Many times churches will provide a meal after a funeral with little or no cost. Ask the priest when he visits! It's often a potluck style meal, or you may be asked to pay for the meat while parishioners bring side dishes.

I took care of the funeral arrangements for my parents a few years ago and prepaid out of their money: caskets, simple flower arrangements, obituary information, etc. The funeral home holds onto it in a trust and it is not considered available money for nursing home expenses and is properly set aside so as not to be a problem with the "look back" period for Medicaid.

I pray this info helps!
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Yes, Joanies

Having a priest and sacraments are at home are a blessing. Our church has a ‘sunshine ministry’ designated to help in certain situations. I have cooked meals for others in thier time of need. A little thing for me to do but it means a lot to a family recovering from surgery or after a funeral, a new baby in the home, etc.

Thanks for your warm words and encouragement. I appreciate it.
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The Bible says from dust to dust and ashes to ashes. So I think that any way you choose will be fine.

I agree, it is silly to spend thousands and thousands to be buried, when you won't even spend money for your care.

We are gone when our bodies are dead, we are spirits that live in these meat bodies, kinda like our meat bodies live in our brick and mortar houses.
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Sorry, out of sorts today.
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Talk to your Priest. Maybe a Mass can be said with the urn in the place of a casket. Viewings are for the living to give condolences to the family. Do you really need to view the body? I just went to a viewing where a beautiful urn was placed in the center of a beautiful wreath. If Dad has a burial, maybe Mom can be placed in his plot.

Once you get ur info then approach Mom again. Make a list of what she wants at her funeral. Flowers, songs etc. Its her funeral. If she wants a quiet one why not. By letting her decide, you don't have to plan or feel guilty did u do enough. Funerals are changing. People are going simple.
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JoAnn,

In New Orleans we do have family plots. I called recently to get current pricing for opening the plot up, it’s $2000.00. Cremation cost, urn, church donation, even a graveside service like we had for my brother, we gave a donation to the church. It is customary in our church. Flowers, I do know what her favorite hymns are, etc.

When my dad died there was the wake at the funeral parlor with mass said there. Burial the same day. I remember years ago, it was a two day event, wake one day, burial next day. Some people still do that. I think it’s emotionally harder on the family though when it’s stretched out.
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I just read your post to "isthisreallyreal". Take a DEEP BREATH!😊

First, I understand the guilt but forgive yourself. When your are exhausted, you just don't have the patience. I would have done the same thing. And I think they need to hear it.

Its time to place Mom. Her illness is going to be more than you can handle.

The ALs allow you to have a meal with them. Maybe one with one floor wil, be better for Mom. As my daughter says, nothing is going to be perfect. But, you are burnt out. You need a break.
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Thanks JoAnn,

I've always thought your postings were compassionate and helpful. I'm working on trying to focus on priorities. I've lost myself and don't even remember life with only my husband and myself. I miss that so much. I know he does too.
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my view is when a person dies they are gone. Period. The time to buy flowers and pay homage to a person is when they are alive; when they die it's too late. Whether or not you decide to go burial is entirely up to you..but consider your or her finances. Does not matter how the body is disposed because the body is now a carcass. I would go the cheapest route. Money is for the living..when a person dies, and you need things repaired like a new roof, home repairs, new washing machine, etc., I would go the cremation route. But that's just me. Usually people with end-stage chronic diseases like old age and Alzheimer's, their home will need a considerable amount of repair and appliances replace. Does your home need a paint job? To do it properly you use highest quality paint and several coats. It should cost over a thousand, if not several thousand, for that. You are talking about several coats of high quality paint..not that cheap watered down crap.

If you have the money for a burial--and let me assure you what they do to the body is quite hideous including drain all the blood out and fill it with formaldehyde, and sew the mouth shut, and even break arms that have undergone rigor mortis to make it fit in the casket and give it the "peaceful" look, then spend $10,000 +.

In my opinion, if money is an issue get a cremation and be done with it.
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jacobsonbob Mar 2019
cetude--You are being very pragmatic, which in this day and age is a very reasonable approach. Sometimes I envy the Hindus who have a cremation at the Ganges but with a more ceremonial approach.

I laughed when I read your comments about using good quality paint as opposed to "that cheap watered down crap" because there is a story about a minister who had a second job as a painter. He diluted the paint to save money, but as a result the customer wasn't satisfied after the paint had dried. He was wondering what to do until he was sure he heard a voice from the distance say "Repaint thou thinner"!
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two things come to mind in reading these posts.
1) you commented that you are a prisoner in your home and cannot go to mass with your husband because you cannot leave your mother. before worrying about her burial, you need to immediately find her another place to live. Unless you really want to be giving up the rest of your life and healthy years to her. And in the meantime you really need to stop putting up with her verbal abuse.

2) then you can consider her funeral wishes if they are reasonable and feasible. If not, then, really might be better not to talk about what she wants and then just do what she can afford when the time comes. We know our mother probably expects a wake at funeral home, then a limo trip to church for a mass, then graveside service and lunch for the attendees. All of her close relatives are dead, my sister, brother and I are in agreement, no wake, just a priest with a graveside service. She has nieces and nephews but that's it. When at someone else's wake, my 2nd cousin said, she probably would see me next at my mother's wake since she is the last one left. I replied no, we are not having a wake, and she was shocked. And said so. Told her even if she has money left after her care, we are not spending $10,000 on a funeral. But we are not going to try to explain this to my mother, we just don't discuss it. So then, we don't have to go against her wishes.

Good luck to you and let us know how you are doing
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dogparkmomma,

YOU ARE SO CORRECT! I am working on it. Have started looking at assisted living and have to continue doing so.

You are also correct in saying that none of of us should go pay more than we can afford for a funeral!
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If you want to really save $$ and pay absolutely nothing, then you want to do a whole body donation. My mother just died 3/2/19 Saturday and that is what I did. She already signed off on a uniform body gift back Oct 2018 because we had discussed this a few yrs ago as I am going to do that when I die. She was interested as well. I told a few people about it and they want to do it now.
I used http://medcure.org.
Check their website to see if your state is with MedCure. I live in Florida.
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SilverWitch Mar 2019
Very interesting. This is the first time I have heard of this.
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It is a waste of money.

The Catholic Church has been fine with cremation for years.

My FIL died two years ago, and my MIL had him embalmed ($$$ because he'd had brain surgery and needed major repairs for viewing), a rosary in a rented casket ($$ transportation to the church and the guys from the mortuary there to rearrange him for the open casket), funeral the next day ($$ mortuary guys to open the casket again, close it, and transport him, church fees, flowers), then cremation ($ because FIL wanted to save money!). Total cost BEFORE the cemetery plot and the reception afterward -- $20,000.

All that was for MIL, because she was the one left who cared about that stuff. Everything could still have been done for a fraction of the expense had she not had him embalmed and an open casket. (Let me tell you, an open casket after brain surgery isn't a good way to go.)

My dad died in November, and his cremation was $2300. My folks' church doesn't allow bodies or ashes to be present, because they believe a memorial service is a celebration of life and the body is not the person any longer, which I agree with. Still, after feeding 250 people afterward ($6200), paying for the church and flowers ($600), and a niche in a wall at the cemetery ($6,000), my dad's cremation and burial cost $15,000+.

Have a priest visit your mother now, while she can still get benefit from the Church's ministering. After she's gone, the services and how her body is disposed of is more for your comfort and benefit.

I'm pretty certain MIL spent $40,000 she doesn't really have to spare on FIL's service. If that's what your mother wants, and she can afford it, so be it, but if she can't, think about how much comfort you're providing to a funeral home vs. how much you're providing yourself before spending a fortune.
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Kayrom1,

WOW! Best example of how funeral arrangements get out of hand!!! Thanks so much for sharing that information. Really makes one think about all of this formality stuff, huh? Majority of people can’t afford all of that! Your folks paid a ton of money!!! My gosh!

It is true, focus on what is important for them while LIVING! One of my favorite expressions of my grandma was, “Give me flowers while I am living!” I am a lot like my grandma. She was a no nonsense woman.

She often told me how much she loved me because I was the only one to visit, my siblings never did and my grandma was an angel, so sweet.

She would say, she didn’t want people to go to her wake and pretend they cared about her or her grave and acted like they loved her when all they did was ignore her. She knew I loved her. She had a wicked sense of humor. She loved music, and would crank it up when her neighbor liked the record that she was playing. Haha.

So, when she died we gave her neighbor her beautiful antique victrola and record collection to him. She would have liked that.
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