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Deb2of9

This week has made me think....

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It has been a pretty rough week for me, but it has made me think. The week would have been rough to begin with, but some of it could have been better with a little planning and preperation.

 

We lost my sister's Mother-in-law on Monday. I say my sister's but with the way we are in this family, it felt like it was my own. She was there when I needed a place to stay and filled in for my sister when she couldn't make it for the birth of my youngest child because her son was sick. She even held my youngest daughter before I did. The nurse after cleaning her up, handed her to Lorilla and said, "here grandma". She has been grandma ever since.

 

Our family is close like that. Most of my brothers and my other sister live far away from coast to coast. I don't get to see most of them, but my sister's in-laws are right there. We are welcomed as more in-laws and I am aunt to all of her nieces and nephews as well. So I have felt a big part of the family and her death affected me almost as much as them. Actually she has been "mother' to me for almost 30 years and my own mother died when I was 18, so she acually has been mother to me longer than my own mother. We also shared a common interest as we were both nurses. We became good friends as well.

 

I was saddened when we "lost" her to alzheimer's several years ago. The last 3 or 4 years she hasn't known who anyone was. She was 82 years old and lived a long full life. She had been ill and she is at peace now. I miss her, but do believe she is in a better place now. We are left without her, but for her this was really for the best. She could no longer eat and could barely open her eyes.

 

The week was still hard. The loss of someone you love always is. However it did make me think. A basic no frills funeral was $8000 and that is not counting the grave or head stone. The family did have a small emergency fund that two of the siblings started after another death in 2007, but it only had $3000 in it and the funeral home wants that paid in 30 days. The family knew she wasn't going to last much longer. Each family cookout we brought her to, we mentioned this could be her last. Yet, despite that no one was willing to face up to the fact that she would die soon to make plans. We were all left in shock.

 

Under these circumstances my Sister-in-law and brother-in-law had to manage to plan a funeral. They forgot so much. They had to do it cheap so they decided to have the service at the funeral home. That left us wondering where we were going to have the wake after the funeral. All the planning was left up to the two siblings even though there were 9 kids.

 

The day before the calling hours, it dawned on my sister-in-law that we would need to have food afterwards. We then frantically had to run around to plan how to feed everyone that came. Several of the family members were without transportation. One brother-in-laws son got him and his wife, my sister-in-law had to rush to get the truck in the shop so it could be fixed in time. They are on disability income so didn't have the money for it. That left my niece with a family of 9 with no transport. She was being left on her own despite the fact that it was mentioned to several people that we needed to work out how to get them there.

 

We managed, but it left me thinking about how much better it would have been with pre-planning for the funeral. Having emergency funds set up to help get people there. Working together instead of leaving it to one or two kids to figure everything out. We prepare for so much in our lives, but we fail to prepare for out deaths and it is our children, our families that get left trying to pick up the pieces. When my grandson died, it was bad, but we pulled together. It wasn't expected since he was only 3 years old, but the expense and what they went through have made my daughter and her husband start to plan for their own funeral. I have seen it happen so many times. I think that it is because we don't like to think about our own deaths or that of the ones we love. However, loss of a love one is so devestating as it is, but with the way things are today, it is not only an emotional, spiritual an physical burden on a family, it is a financial one as well. It is the one thing that we can not avoid, because in the end everyone dies. We can try to not make our families have to be burdened or at least lessen the burden if we plan for that time. I have thought about this a lot lately in other areas.

 

I currently live with my 22 daughter and my brother. Both are unemployed and neither of them drives, yet we are 3 1/2 miles out of town. What would they do if something happens to me. I support them both right now. They wouldn't be able to get to town without walking. Neither has a job. Just an illness on my part that puts me in the hospital or incapacitates me for a while would be devastating. Add to that, my brother is a city person and does not want any part of country things such as gardens. My daughter says she wants it, but when the work gets mentions she tells me that I am the one who wanted a garden. My family is not prepared. It is like they are ostriches with their heads in the sand. Nothing will change, so they don't have to worry. Then we have something like losing Lorilla happen.

 

Life is fragile. You need to make every day count with your family and friends. Tell them and show them how much you love them. You also have to plan for when things go terribly wrong. Planning is important even if it is only a little at a time. My daughter said that people tell her she is being morbid because they have planned/prepaid their own funeral. ( Or are working on it at least.) I see that as caring for your family, to not make them go through all of that when you are gone.

 

It was hard this week. But alot of that would have been easier if we only had to grieve....instead the 9 children had to figure out how to pay for their Mom's death. There was no option. You can't stop a baby from being born and you can't stop a person from dying. You may delay it, but both births and deaths happen at God's time. We only can only participate in the process. Joyously for the birth, sharing memories of time we have had together and supporting each other in the death. But with life and death, we have expenses that can destroy everything else you have planned if you are not prepared for them.

 

My sister had a personal emergency fund as well as the joint family one. Both are wiped out and there are still several thousand dollars they have to come up with in the next 30 days, not counting the immediate costs of travel and other expenses. Myself alone I went through all the gas I have for 2 weeks,just getting people where they needed to go. That was my gas budget, but now I have to manage to stretch it to keep me getting to work the next two weeks. At $50 for a fill up, that is alot of extra money. I wasn't prepared anymore than anyone else in the family. All of that at a time of loss makes it worse.

 

You add financial worry to everything else. We can't prepare for everything, but we can learn from where we weren't prepared in the past. I will miss her, but I know she won't be the last one I care about that I loss. I just hope to be better prepared next time and not leave a burden for my family when my time comes.

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Condolences first of all to your loss Deb.

The rest I need to think about before being able to say something sensible. Just feel for you cos this has been an awful hard week on you and yours.

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I'm sorry for your loss Deb. It's so incredibly hard to lose someone you love no matter if it's best for them or not. My mom planned and paid for her funeral several years ago. I'm glad she's done it because we would be in the same situation as your family because of the ridiculously high cost of burying someone. I've already told my family to bury me in whatever the least inexpensive fashion is available and then have a nice meal together to remember the happy things we've done.

 

(((Deb)))

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Deb! I am sorry you are having such a sad week. It would be wonderful to have a family as close together as yours seems to be! I agree, pre-planning will be a giant stress reliever for those left here to deal with our loss.

 

DH and I have an agreement and in our will to be cremated and put in an old tin coffee can. Actually we have two cans. Either of us or kids will spread ashes wherever the living one wants. No memorial service as anyone who knows us knows where we are and to grieve and move on. We have lived too many places and our friends are too spread out to try for a service. We want to make as few demands on our relatives as possible.

 

Those of you with large, close families will have more to deal with and I believe more grace will be given!

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My sympathy for your loss, Deb. You do bring up important issues though in your post. We ALL should plan for the unexpected--and death is NOT unexpected--only the WHEN of it, is unexpected. I know DH &I have been lax in that planning. We keep meaning to work on it, but it gets put on the back burner time and again.

 

However, a tip for those more proactive than us--Cremation is LOT cheaper than a casket & burial. You can even provide your own ash container. IIRC, my FIL's cremation was around $2K, but my dad's casket funeral was $10K.

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(((((Deb2of9)))))

 

:pray:

 

The costs to bury us is intense. My MIL has it all spelled out with the funeral home, church and bank account already. After FIL unexpectedly passed, she got everything ready. DH dislikes talking about it with a passion. :beat_deadhorse: We have no heirs, so the state gets it all, except the heirlooms in my will, that go to my surviving family.

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I am so sorry for the loss that your family has endured, Deb...You raise some very good points. Our family went through something similar a couple of years ago when my MIL died. It wasn't unexpected...she was in her 80's. However, the majority of her children were in deep denial. In the end, it was MIL herself who was the most practicla. Though she never had much money to work with, she did have two small insurance policies. When combined, there was enough to pay for the burial plus a tiny bit left over. Without those policies, the family would have been looking to our household to pay for it. Though the family is large (13 children), a few were unemployed at the time due to the economy and/or due to caring for MIL. Others were just stretched to capacity, as we were. We had two kids in college and the same day that MIL passed, hubby was on his first day of a layoff. Even with the layoff, we were the ones that they expected to pick up the slack because we have rental property.

 

My new concern involves my parents. Paying for the funerals wouldn't be a problem...The issue is that I can expect no support from my sisters. My oldest sister is legally blind and does not feel that she has any power to accomplish anything. While her capacity has been diminished since her vision became impaired, the issue is more of a matter of self-esteem. My middle sister is self-centered and somewhat childish. She doesn't see this in herself but she has demonstrated to me that she is really ill-equipped to lead or to help to handle something like the death of a parent...or even the illness of a parent.

 

That leaves me...the youngest child to make all of the decisions. I don't look forward to that. I know that it would also fall to me to deal with all of their belongings. Neither sister is interested in handling antiques and would want me to settle things quickly. That is something that I cannot do. My parents spent a lifetime carefully acquiring each piece. It would be disrespectful to just sell it all to the first person that offers a couple of bucks for it.

 

I hope that my sisters can step up to the plate in the event of something like this...but I really don't expect it to happen.

 

Hubby's family is also aging...He has brothers and sisters in their 60's and 70's... I'm under the impression that they are not prepared for death either...Over the past couple of years, I have encouraged him to talk to his siblings about this. At this point, I just cannot deal with any more than trying to build up a little emergency fund for ourselves. We've had several unexpected expenses in the past month and a half. The emergency fund is essentially empty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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