Death however, as anyone who has ever planned a funeral will know, comes with a hefty price tag.
A quick look around the internet reveals that the average cost of a funeral these days is over £3,000, that's the average mind, many cost more, much more than that. When you compare that to the average cost of a wedding, it doesn't seem too bad, but then most people planning a wedding have had months, if not years to prepare and save. For the majority of us death comes out of the blue, an unexpected expense we hadn't planned for.
We should plan for death I suppose, it is after all an unavoidable fact of life that will come to all of us in the end, but few of us want to contemplate our mortality, much less save for it. And what if that death comes early? We can accept, and prepare for, death when it comes at the end of a long and happy life but what if our loved ones are cut down in their prime, as a young man or woman, as a teenager, a child, a baby... Who prepares for the unexpected cost of that?
As a family we are still reeling from the sudden death of my nine month old grandson. We are dealing with the realities of the situation but it hasn't sunk in yet, I don't think it ever will.
When a baby dies many of the costs associated with a funeral are covered. That helps. But even so the costs mount up, there are things that need to be paid for. My grandson could have had a basic coffin at no charge but his Mummy and Daddy wanted something special and so he sleeps now in his Peter Pan resting place, the boy who never grew up, and it gave them comfort to do that. Then there are the flowers, the wake, the newspaper announcements.... the costs keep rising. Even when you think everything is settled there will be something else you hadn't thought of, or that needs changing, or that people are suggesting is 'needed'. It all adds to the worry at a very painful time. Even with the help they have received my son and his girlfriend still have somewhere in the region of £300 to find... and that's without paying back loans from family.
It pains me greatly that I am not in a position to help.
Stories abound on line of people who have done without the services of a funeral director to keep costs down, a D.I.Y funeral (isn't that an awful term?), but it's possible, with planning, although I think it would take a very strong person to be able to deal with all the paperwork and details in the midst of their grief. I'd like to think my hubby and I could find the strength to do that for whichever of us goes first, (not for a long time yet though, eh?). It would certainly suit the way we have lived. In fact hubby has always said I should just stick him in a cardboard box and put him out with the recycling, but I don't think I'll get away with that... maybe a cardboard coffin would be the next best thing.
That said I think the funeral directors who helped with my Grandson were brilliant, staying open late and opening early so his parents could spend precious extra time with their boy, and their sensitivity and understanding was in stark contrast to the social workers who seemed to leave their tact and compassion in the office on the day they chose to visit. The right funeral director is worth their weight in gold but it doesn't alter the sad fact that funerals are expensive.
Maybe we all need to think of putting a little money aside, or taking out insurance, or looking into the many funeral plans there are available. I, for one, don't want to leave my loved ones with a whopping big financial headache when it's time for me close my eyes for the final time.