Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Permanent Location

I did a strange thing on Wednesday. Strange for me at least though I know other people do it every day: I put a down payment on a home of another kind.

No, This D*mn House is not for sale and I'm not planning on vacating it any time soon. And, after almost 26 years, it's hard to think of anything more permanent, though there is. No, this residence has a much more permanent nature: a spot in a mausoleum.  

It's not actually for me. It's for the mother.No, don't panic. She's still very much with us!

The mother kind of sprang this on me a few weeks ago. (I think this flirtation with mortality came about in part because of all the craziness with my father and then the arrival of an advertising postcard.) I sent in the card for her and then promptly forgot all about it. And since it's not a topic I've ever been comfortable with, I was happy to do so.

So when the day came, I was very uncomfortable.  Uncomfortable because it's not a happy topic and uncomfortable because I couldn’t wait to see how much this would cost. Let's just say I was pleasantly surprised.  Since the cemetery is planning to build two new mausoleums, it was offering a heavily discounted price on its remaining slots in the existing one.

As I said, while this is technically for the mother, I can ultimately hang there, too, if I'd like. (I plan to be cremated so they said a two-for-one deal was acceptable. We can even add Ozzie if we want. And Toby, too, if that's how the mother wants to handle him when his day comes.)

While it doesn't cover all the costs of burial, it does cover the vast majority. And since funeral costs do nothing but increase (we were just told that the average lower-end, non-cremation burial was somewhere around $11,000!) it seems like a solid investment.

I want to be cremated. The mother doesn't.  Essentially though, a mausoleum does the same job (reducing you to ashes) just over time. And because it's a more efficient use of land than a grave, it's even environmentally friendly. That made me warm to the option, at least a little bit.

So we've made the plans.  We're now clear on each other's wishes. We've got a location. And ideally, by the time either of us needs it, it will have been long ago paid for. She'll need a casket. I'll need an urn or a box. (Or for that matter, a coffee can. Why the hell will I care? I won't know.) We've had the conversation. And now we don't have to talk about it anymore. *putting hands over ears* Lalalalalalalalalalala. End of discussion.

Seriously, I can say that it seems like one less thing to ever worry about. And I have to think, for whichever one of us goes first, there will be at least a little comfort in that.


Karen Anne said...

Good planning.

Better get this done in advance, and make it easier on people who have to cope later.

I had a will and other legal paperwork like a power of attorney for healthcare drawn up in, I think, my thirties, and periodically review it, because I had pets to care for. I'm always astonished at people with kids who have not done this.

Why S? said...

I definitely want to be cremated. I can't stand the thought of being planted in the earth with all kinds of nasty insects, and maybe those horrible underground cricket things that I uncovered once while digging up the old crabgrass. But I digress.

My dilemma is I can't decide what to do with the "results." I'm not attached enough to any location. No scattering at sea, thank you. Nor on any mountainside. That would be too much like camping. There's a terrific cemetery in Hollywood (with oodles of golden-age celebrities and outdoor concerts and movies in summer and it's right around the corner from my acting teacher/producing partner) but I don't know if I want to take up physical space for eternity - especially since I won't be leaving anyone behind who will "visit" me.

You're lucky to have all this figured out. May you have many years to consider your plan.

NV said...

Karen Anne --Yes, those were kind of my thoughts, too.

Why -- I'm with ya. I have always had a somewhat irrational fear of being buried. And the idea of being put into a box just feeds the revulsion. Since I also don't anticipate visitors, I think I would prefer a beach scattering ... (would at least make it more fun for whomever gets the task, no?)