Friday, May 1, 2009

The Casket Catalogue

Brad our trusty “Personal Funeral Coordinator” returns with the catalogue. Well let’s just say I was expecting a little tri-fold colour brochure, not the massive wedding size album, that he two-handedly dropped on the table. I looked at the album then back at Brad thinking to myself “is he about to show us his "Scrapbooking Memories" of some of his best, past funerals, while we wait for his helper to find the casket brochures”.

Brad is totally in his element now, the suit jacket comes off and he has us all arranged so we can see the “Catalogue”. He lovingly turns each page, he talks about the style of caskets, the satin liners, brass fittings, types of wood, and the latest “in” colours. Brad points out the sleek lines of this one and aerodynamics’ of that one. There is a glint in his eye and his voice takes on a hushed tone as he draws our attention to the casket with the silver fittings and has us pay special attention to the way the fittings compliment the patina of the hand carved wood frame. We sit there stunned and for once speechless. All I can think of is “Len should be here he would love this, only he would appreciate the aerodynamics and silver fittings of his final resting place. Who knew that even in death it’s important to look your designer best! I finally find my voice and gather up the nerve to ask Brad the cost of one of these exquisite gems.

Brad leans in closer and in a whispers voice tells us the price. Well let me just say we found our voice and I am ashamed to say that what came out of our mouths was not what a God fearing family should say. “Are you @&*$%&# out of your mind” was yelled by all. Poor Brad he was so taken back by our outburst he wasn’t sure what to do next. We all start talking at once “why would anyone pay all that money just to put it in an incinerator and burn it up”. “We don’t need the casket just toss Len over your shoulder and throw him in the incinerator. “Why don’t we wrap Len in the fabric Mom wants to buy, you know like a mummy.” Poor Brad, he looks at all of us and it is his turn to be speechless.

I ask Brad if there is anything cheaper. “No satin liners, no brass fittings, no sleek lines or aerodynamics, just a simple wooden box”. Brad dejectedly nods his head and pulls out the little tri-fold colour brochure. None of us look at the pictures we just ask for prices, Brad tells us the cheapest one is $300.00, unanimously we shout sold!


  1. Now not being wraped up in emotion, why would anyone pay such an out rages amount for a casket that will be viewed, for the most, several days. You do not have to be concerned about my funeral. I will be planing and paying for it befor I die. That is if I live for the next few years.

  2. Wow. I am speechless. This is a must read for everyone who will be planning a funeral. Incredible. I'm so sorry for everything your family has gone through. It can't be easy sharing the entire story, thank you for your willingness to post. All my best, Pam.

  3. thank you Pam for the kind words. You are right it has been a incredible ride. A can assure there is alot more to come. Please stay with us as I do my best to write faster but it is tough to find a quiet moment in this house.

  4. Take your time in sharing. I'll stay with you and bring more to read your postings. Your story is so very important. Take care, Pam

  5. Well we went through this when my mom passed away. It was me and my younger sister only it was not a catalogue but a room filled with caskets and the two of us trying to decide which one my mom would like best. We were both shocked at the expensive prices and very worried about how we were going to afford anything what we thought was suitable. We shed a lot of tears that day and we selected what we thought was the best one in a middle price range. I recall it as one of the most difficult parts of planning the funeral. I can remember not wanting to touch them and zoning in and out of reality as the person helping us spoke about each casket. I remember thinking I don't want her in any of these I just want her to come home. Well, just a short year later myself and my sister were in the same situation again picking out a casket only this time it was for her husband. The emotions were very different this time. We knew what to expect and we were much more efficient. We also knew how to take a nice looking casket that maybe wasn't the most luxurious in terms of comfort and make it much more comfy on an affordable budget. Again it was very difficult but our helper this time thought we were a little strange because instead of the tears we concentrated on the inner support of the casket and we had no trouble touching them and feeling the fabric on the inside. This transaction although difficult was much more business like.