My mom passed away today. I'm trying in the most inexpensive way possible still trying to meet her request for no cremation to set up a burial for her. It seems the cheapest is at the least $7,000. This is impossible for me. Any suggestions?

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These folks who have all these requirements and expectations and requests for their funeral yet have not saved or planned in any way... just blows my mind.  A burial is no different than buying a house or a car or a takes money.  If you don't have it, then you can't get it.   Please do not go into debt out of some sense of obligation.  Funerals are for the living, not the dead.  Your mom won't know if you had daisies or rare imported roses at her funeral.  Do what you can afford to do and let it be.  The memories that you have of her life will live on in you.

My father was a horrible alcoholic and we had been estranged for years when I got the call that he had a stroke and was in the hospital on a vent.  I went to the hospital, met with the neurologist and decided to take him off of everything and let him pass.  They moved him to a hospice room and I slept on the floor next to him for almost 2 weeks before he passed.  He didn't have any money or anything for that matter.  We decided to cremate him because it was the least expensive option.  Because he had been in the military, he received a grave plaque at no charge.  We had a graveside service to bury the ashes.  I hired a harpist to sit under a shade tree and play. I bought two large freestanding flower arrangements in all white flowers.  Everything total was $2200 and I charged it.  I invited everyone to my home afterwards to have a bite to eat and look at pictures and visit.  It was a nice service.  This woman (one of his enablers who did not come to the funeral) told me afterwards that he didn't want to be cremated.  I said well he should have planned something then or at the very least saved some money.  The effort and money that I gave to have a funeral for him was more than he ever did for me. I was completely at peace with the whole thing.

Good luck planning your moms funeral.  Do what you can do.
Helpful Answer (16)
disgustedtoo Oct 2020
"This woman (one of his enablers who did not come to the funeral) told me afterwards that he didn't want to be cremated."

I think I would have told her if SHE was soooo concerned about it all, then she should have spoken up AND ponied up to provide whatever it is he wanted. The nerve of some people...
I think that you know that you can not honor her wish to be buried. It is too much money to bury her and it is unfair to you to go into debt to do this.

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust, it truly is just a body that she is no longer using, she is gone, it is okay to take care of her remains in the best way you can afford.
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I would go with cremation even if she did request no cremation. Her children should not be forced to pay for something they can’t afford.
Helpful Answer (12)

I'm very sorry for your loss.

That said, no one is required to bankrupt themselves to honor someone who is not here to know whether you carried out their wishes. I suggest cremation.

My father-in-law died three years ago. He wanted to be cremated in spite of being a devout Catholic. My mother-in-law, even more devout than FIL, had him embalmed, had a viewing, a rosary service, then a full funeral the next day followed by a luncheon for 200. THEN he was cremated! Total price tag was around $35,000, and for what? So we could look at a body with an atrocious sprayed on make-up job in a poor attempt to cover up the brain surgery he'd had.

I know MIL wants similar treatment (but burial, not cremation, so add another $10k), but I also know that unless she prepaid for it, her kids will not be paying for it. It isn't because they don't love her or want to honor her, but because only two of them make enough money to afford their 1/7 share of a bill like that.

You honor your mother in the way you remember her, whether it's through a memorial service (no body in attendance) and how you live your life from here on out. You don't honor her by paying outrageous sums to funeral directors.
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NeedHelpWithMom Oct 2020
How sad! Especially since it is perfectly acceptable for Catholics to be cremated!

I planned my brother’s cremation and a simple graveside service by our family priest.

I am a cradle Catholic. Yes, many years ago cremation was frowned upon. That hasn’t been the case in ages.

If they are devout Catholics, it seems that they would be up to date on current practices of the church’s teachings.
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One thing you can be sure about is that your late mother is not going to be concerned about whatever happens to her earthly remains.
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Unfortunately it’s going to be highly unlikely to bury her in a casket for under $7k in Rhode Island. You’ve got to pay for the casket, plot and marker. That’s JUST to bury her, not including any type of service. Either the family will have to pitch in the funds or have a fundraiser, or you may have to go the cremation route. Quite frankly if someone didn’t have the courtesy to plan for this ahead of time & leave enough money yet still let their wishes be known, then there is really nothing wrong with disregarding those wishes. Anyone who doesn’t want to be buried needs to make sure they can afford a casket, plot & headstone before they die. It’s not always easy to save the money but in that case, the deceased gets whatever can be afforded when they die.
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worriedinCali Oct 2020
Correction This should say anyone who doesn't want to be *CREMATED needs to make sure they can afford a casket, headstone and plot when they die.
I live in NJ so those liners are mandatory. They are sealed to keep water out. So there is no need for a water proof casket. You don't have to have a viewing. I like the ones that the viewing is an hour before the service. You don't have to have a service as such. Just have a graveside service for just family. Then go to lunch somewhere. COVID is a good excuse not to do anything big.

I think as a population we are getting away from all the hoopla. Yes, I did give Mom a nice funeral, but I was able to put some of her money away for it. For me and my husband, its cremation. I don't need a service and definitely no viewing.
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I don’t go to funerals unless I have too, ie. my husband’s parents, my mom’s, my grandparents. And I hate funeral lunches. My husband’s sisters did the lunch arrangements for his parents. My husband and I want nothing other than cremation and ashes scattered in the woods on some property we own. Our sons know and agree.
Helpful Answer (9)

Ksouza - I'm sorry for your loss.

Here's a link to an article on cheap burials.,viewing%2C%20you%20also%20avoid%20the%20cost%20of%20embalming.

Here are some of the excerpts from the article:

"If you’ve made up your mind on burial rather than cremation, this option is very affordable. It avoids the costs associated with a formal funeral or memorial service.
Without a visitation or a viewing, you also avoid the cost of embalming.
You do have the option of a brief graveside service, but be sure to talk to your funeral home about this. In some cases, holding such a service may put you into a different price bracket than a simple direct burial.
You can opt for a more formal memorial service, either immediately after the loss or at some time in the future."

"Green burials are becoming increasingly popular. This practice rethinks everything about burial to make it friendlier to the environment.
Without embalming fluid or a concrete vault, the body decomposes much more quickly, without leaving harmful chemicals and materials in the earth. The body is placed in a shroud or in a biodegradable casket.
Not every cemetery allows green burials, so call around to find one that does. Although you still have to pay for a shroud and a burial plot, a green burial can save you lots of money, and is better for the earth, too."

"Another trend which is on the rise is the home burial. This allows you to skip the funeral home altogether and take care of all aspects of death and burial at home. A “death coach” or “death midwife” can assist you with the process.
This option leaves you in completely in the driver’s seat when managing the cost of the funeral. A coffin can be pre-purchased, and even used for some other purpose until it comes time for the burial.
A home burial and memorial service can be much more personal and intimate than a formal service at a funeral home or cemetery. Just make sure that yours is not one of the six states which mandates that a funeral home handle the remains."
Helpful Answer (8)
ArtistDaughter Oct 2020
We had a green burial for my nephew. It is what I want as well.
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burials are extremely expensive and if you had no pre-planned funeral they are going to gouge you. There are many hidden costs so this advertised $7,000 will go up even more. I lost my mom a year ago and I got her cremated; it was $1,000--no services, no viewing, just cremation. They advertise it as $595, but it ended up $1,000--and that was preplanned! To save even more money, I purchased a beautiful wooden cigar box to keep her ashes. She rests in the living room in an antique cabinet. Think of it this way: Although cremation sounds gross as the body is incinerated, it is no more awful than having the blood drained out, replaced with formaldehyde, then buried in the dark cold earth sealed in a casket, then another casket. Decomposition still happens...just slower.

Requesting a burial is one thing--but if the parent did not already pay for it and has no life insurance and the survivors are left flipping the bill..I would consider that as well. Still, you do what you feel best, but remember you have to live with the bills.

To me what you do to a body is irrelevant because dead is dead. How a person is treated, cared for and loved while alive is what matters. Funerals are strictly for the living, not the dead. When a person has died, it is no more different than a slab of meat. If you want to go into heavy debt, that is entirely your decision.
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