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    • CommentAuthorNicky
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2018
    Has anyone looked into or started planning funeral arrangements while your spouse is still alive? I've been thinking of getting some information before hand to make it a bit easier when the time comes. A couple of days ago I called the funeral home to get some info. The guy called me back this afternoon & left a message on my voice mail. He wants to meet with me on Monday. I listened to that message & felt numb.... yet I'm the one who initiated the call.... I'm having trouble with all this. I guess it's much more "real" when speaking to a funeral home... I feel like crying now, how will I be on Monday... a blubbering idiot? I haven't even called back to confirm that appointment yet. All I want right now is info - I think it's too early to be really planning. He's not at death's door... Any thoughts??
    • CommentAuthorJan K
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2018
    Nicky - I did this several years ago. I knew the last thing I would ever want to do was to make all those decisions with no preparation at such a bad time. This gave me time to think about things over a period of time, and that's a luxury you don't have at the time of need. (The man I talked to was very patient and helpful, even though I told him I was not officially pre-planning--which means you pay for all the services then.)

    I remember sitting there thinking about what we were discussing, and how I was more or less expected not to have screaming hysterics while I did it. When I think back about that day now, the main feeling I have is relief that all the planning is done, and if I need it, I can just get the little folder out of my desk and call them.

    I can't say it was easy, but I actually had more trouble when we went to redo our wills after DH was diagnosed.

    It seemed prudent to make preliminary arrangements for myself, also, because it is not guaranteed that I will survive my husband. This way what both of us wanted is written down for whoever has to make the arrangements.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2018
    Others here will tell you waiting until they die can be even worse. You are in the depth of your pain and grief. This makes it so much harder not to mention you are more vulnerable to being sold more than you want. There are those here who have prepaid for part or all not to mention prices only keep going up. I found out last fall that my MIL took out a $1000 life insurance policy on my husband when he was born. It is now worth a little over $2000. Medicaid only allows up to $1500 in cash value so I am in the process of cashing it in. I will use the money to prepay for my husband's cremation which I was told is around $1000. There are added expenses like picking up the body, etc. which when I get the money I will find out more of that. Since there will be no service or viewing, that expense I do not have to worry about. I am considering even paying for my own cremation.

    So yes, I would do whatever you can now so when he does die, that is all or mostly taken care of.
    I kept thinking I should contact the funeral home months ahead and do some pre planning but kept putting it off. When he started Hospice they asked which Funeral Home I wanted and I told them but that is as far as I ever got. I was really sorry after he died that I hadn't done it beforehand. The obituary was not nearly as complete as I would have liked. I just didn't put as much thought into it ahead of time as I should have.

    So yes, do all you can ahead of time.
    • CommentAuthorlindyloo*
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2018
    Nicky. You are right to plan to do this now. All funeral homes have tissues and are experienced with tears. If you tell them that you are there for information only, most homes will honor that and not press prepayment or anything else. If you feel pressured just leave. The funeral home that I went to gave me an information packet with everything I needed in it. I studied it at home. I did go back to the Funeral Home twice when my partner was going to be in respite care while I was out of state. I wanted them to know that they would receive her should anything happen when I was away. Thankfully nothing did.

    Do you have anyone who would be willing to go with you? I did not have that. But it might help. Planning ahead can mean paying less because you have time to think things over.

    We all will carry you in our thoughts and prayers. This is a difficult thing to do.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2018
    I agree you should arrange this before because it will be much harder to decide these things later. Since you're in Canada, remember that CPP gives a $1,000 lump sum on the receipt of a death certificate and in my case a copy of the marriage certificate.

    My funeral home was inept overall. They even forgot to bill me for eight months. However, their services included filing for that lump sum and some other government notifications that were necessary.

    If I remember right the total cost was somewhere around $3500 for preparation and cremation, not including the urn. I had no viewing and no service. It was one of my little revenges to the kiddie pool that never showed up and treated us like lepers; but, expected to attend a funeral service.

    This might also be a time to note which things are jointly held where most of those have survivorship built in. When they pass, such property is then fully owned by the survivor of the joint properties. That applied to our house, car, and bank accounts which were all registered in both names.

    If there is a pension, one task will be to contact them. If you're talking to funeral people, this might also be a good time to find his employee number and a contact number for his company.

    Last comment, one of the applications the funeral home took care of was the notification to CPP which included a review of my income. Since Dianne was collecting CPP, that had to be stopped, but a review of my income raised my own CPP by a couple of hundred dollars a month in consideration.

    Also make sure you understand what life insurance policies and RSP or other personal accounts there might be. This is all hard to do, but if you can make a start and create a file or list of things now, it will make it a little easier.

    If you find that you're reactions are too strong right now, consider postponing the meeting and giving yourself a bit of time to absorb some of this.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2018 edited
    Off topic - Lindylou, see the March thread for a note to you.
    • CommentAuthorNicky
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2018
    Well, I saw the funeral guy yesterday. He came to my house, so it was a little easier than sitting in an office at the funeral home. I was a little emotional, but managed to hold back the tears (barely). There is certainly a lot of things to consider.... Don't remember there being that much when my mother passed away 18 years ago. So, yes it's a good idea to plan ahead. Thanks everyone for the good advice.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2018
    Good for you Nicky. I imagine there is if according to the commercials the average funeral is $7000. Thankfully we are going for cremation, no viewing, no service.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2018
    We have a family friend who is a mortician. I used to get a kick out of using their calendar at work. People found it depressing, but I was like, that's Matthew and Vicky! Actually it is a job I think I might have been good at once upon a time. My father in law was a painter. Matthew's funeral home was Roy's primary client. Roy was a craftsman. That funeral home was a work of art.

    My biggest fear is that Matthew will die before hb does. I don't know about dealing with someone else. We are going to do simple cremation. I wasn't going to get an urn or do anything with the cemetary, but have been to several ceremonies here lately. We are very close to the Riverside, CA National Cemetary. Military funerals are beautiful. Even with cremation they can do the flag folding ceremony and play taps. For some you can even get a.flyover, sometimes with missing man formation. A number of his crew members live near by and some others might even come from pretty far away. A friend died recently of cancer and the guys even wore their uniforms to the funeral. So I think I will do more than just spread ashes in the yard. The cemetary has a place to put the urn in a niche there.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2018
    Some of the national cemeteries have rose gardens where you can spread ashes.
    • CommentAuthorNicky
    • CommentTimeMar 24th 2018
    It seems strange to talk about this since my husband is still alive, but I have found a nice poem to put on the back of the prayer cards to be handed out at his funeral. I like the one I found, but just wondering if anyone has any poem or prayer that they like or have used? There might be one I like more than the one I've chosen.
    I REALLY LIKE THIS ONE .... Don't know who wrote it

    Lord, when you see my work is done.
    Let me not linger on,
    with failing powers, And weary hours
    A workless worker in a world of work,
    But with a word, Just bid me home,
    and I will gladly go,
    yes gladly I will go.
    My favorite is the 23rd Psalm. (The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, etc.) A conventional choice, I guess--as I googled around, I found that that is the number one favorite. If you google in something like "memorial prayers for funerals" you will find there are many lists of beautiful verses--I had to stop reading--I was getting teary-eyed.
    I'm glad you are making your arrangements now. You will be so glad you did when the time comes. My husband, Doug just died the night of March 15, 2018. I had been telling myself for months that I needed to plan his service but I didn't. We are Catholic and are having a funeral mass on Monday morning but I did decide to cremate. Everywhere is different but in FL it's against the law to spread the ashes (of course that's if you get caught). There is a Program for the mass so people who are not Catholic can follow along. The program allowed me space for 2 different ones. I loved each one because they were more loving and hopeful, which is what I wanted for him. Maybe you will like one of these.

    “And I saw a river over which every soul
    must pass to the Kingdom of Heaven,
    and the name of that river was Suffering …
    and then I saw a boat which carried souls across the river,
    and the name of that boat was love..”

    Attributed to St. John of the Cross

    "I Thought of You With Love Today"

    I thought of you with love today,
    but that is nothing new.
    I thought about you yesterday,
    and days before that too.
    I think of you in silence,
    I often speak your name.
    All I have now are memories
    and a picture in a frame.
    Your memory is a keepsake,
    with which I’ll never part.
    God has you in His keeping,
    I have you in my heart.
    -Author Unknown
    • CommentAuthorNicky
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2018
    Thank you all for your contributions. I'm still not sure which one I'll choose, but I have lots of time to think about it - just wanted to narrow it down so when the time comes it will be easier.

    This is the one I had chosen before your contributions:

    God Saw You Getting Tired

    God saw you getting tired
    And a cure was not to be
    So He wrapped his arms around you
    And whispered “Come with me”
    With tearful eyes we watched you
    Slowly fade away
    Although we loved you dearly
    We would not make you stay
    A golden heart stopped beating
    Hard working hands at rest
    God broke our hearts to prove to us
    He only takes the best
    • CommentAuthorNicky
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2018
    Sass, I'm so sorry to hear about your husband. Was he still at home? I hope you can find some peace now.