Gransnet forums

Funeral wishes

(108 Posts)
Cherrytree59 Mon 25-Mar-19 00:14:35

I an a bit worried about putting this in the Bereavement section as at this moment in time we are not bereaved.
So apologies to anyone who is at present suffering a bereavement.

My MIL is now sadly receiving palliative care, after what the hospital calls a large seizure.
We have been told that the end is near, but could be days or a couple of weeks.

Tomorrow we are going to our local funeral director to purchase a prepaid funeral in order to carry out the express wishes of my MIL.
Which is in her words is -No fuss, basic coffin and No flowers'.
'Cremation'
My MIL was a salt of the earth, hard-working woman.
She lived through hard times and every penny counted.
She did not believe in squandering money,
However she was extremely generous to her son and grandchildren.
As the saying goes 'she would give you the shirt off her back'.

This is unknown territory for me as my Mother's funeral was long time ago and my father had made arrangements.

So tonight I have been quietly googling and was surprised to read about the different quality coffins available including brass silver or gold handles etc.

My question is why?
It's either going on the ground as with my parents or as with my MIL it will be cremated (not sure what happens the coffin metal adornments presumably they just melt)

I was a bit concerned with how basic my husband mother's wishes were, but I am now of the same mind and in the near future DH and I will discuss our own arrangements.
What do GNers think?
(I completely understand that it is up to the individual to spend their money how they see fit)

As have I am sure many GNers, I have attended several funerals, but never once have I looked coffin and thought about the choice of wood or handles and considered whether it was basic model or no expense spared.
They are often covered in flowers anyway.

(DH and I will organise catering at a local venue for family and friends.)

It would seem that tomorrow is now today smile

ninathenana Mon 25-Mar-19 00:40:06

Mum asked me to take her to prearranged her funeral. She chose a wicker coffin with cotton shroud and cremation for the reasons you give. She wanted everything as basic as possible as in her words "I'm gone, I don't need bells and whistles to send me on my way"
I did over ride her when she said no hymns at the service.

grannyactivist Mon 25-Mar-19 01:00:16

My funeral is arranged and my coffin requirements have been indicated, but may yet be open to change. I had chosen a wicker casket, but have now seen a beautiful woollen one that I like very much. I like the idea of having a garland of flowers around the side of a wicker casket, but I'm spoilt for choice as I also like the Pandanus (pineapple leaf) and Seagrass caskets. They're around the £500 mark.

paddyann Mon 25-Mar-19 01:01:01

I organised my Dads when he died very suddenly 25 years ago.Being shown brochures of coffins all with prices on them was a huge surprise I had no idea there were "posh" coffins and cheap ones.I spoke to my sister and we together asked mum what she thought and she said pretty much what you just did ..its a shocking waste of someones hard earned cash .Dad had a cheapish coffin and no nameplate on it..it was being burned so what was the point ?

Our funeral wishes have been left with our solicitor ,our children have cards to contact him for all the details when they need them .Any money we leave wont be spent on a funeral.They both know that now and have agreed to abide by our wishes .Funeral directors make an obscene amount of money from bereaved ,vulnerable people who spend money they dont need to.We have a friend who is a funeral director so know roughly what his income is .Often earned from upselling to people who are in emotional shock .Its immoral in my book .Funerals should be standard to avoid ripping off the bereaved .

absent Mon 25-Mar-19 03:24:03

The arrangements of two funerals for which I was fully responsible had both been organised and paid for in advance by my aunt and my mother, including the choice of coffin, the number of limousines and the purchase/ownership of burial plots. That removed a huge burden from my shoulders. However, they both trusted me to arrange the finer details of the ceremonies and wakes according to family tradition. They both had religious ceremonies and I wrote and spoke the eulogies – I've done it for other family funerals and it is among the hardest tasks I have ever undertaken. I also chose the music that I thought was most appropriate, having been close to both mother and aunt throughout my life.

Making arrangements for my mother's funeral was painful enough but made more difficult by the fact that my father-in-law had died on the same day. Hurtling between bereaved families in London and Darlington was a nightmare, so I really appreciate my mother's forethought. I don't want my daughter to have more headaches than heartaches, so I shall make sure that I have stuff in place.

I have talked to my daughter, who is my registered next of kin and executor of my will, about my funeral and what I would regard as appropriate, which is very simple in terms of a green burial with no religious service. (We are both atheists.) I have no doubt that she will observe my wishes. However, I have left it up to her to decide how she wants to say goodbye and, I truly hope, celebrate her mother's life. I have left it up to her to provide a comforting memory for my grandchildren. If she feels flowers are right, okay; if she feels they're not, okay. After all, funerals are there for the bereaved to say their final goodbyes; the dead are just being tidied away.

I have been a busy and well-organised woman all my life. I am damned if I am going to micro-manage my own funeral.

BlueBelle Mon 25-Mar-19 04:03:23

I have asked for the cheapest and simplest I do not want any fraction of money (not much) left behind to go into the ground I have bought my plot which last 50 years I haven’t yet bought my coffin I looked at the green ones but thought they were expensive too, can I ask you people who already have your coffins sorted (wicker etc) If you ve done it through a funeral plan aren’t the directors still making a lot of money out of you ?
I was thinking of buying a cheap one and keeping it in the spare room😊I can get familiar with it see if it’s comfortable 😂 I like the idea of the woollen one or some other natural material are they expensive? I looked online and they seemed a lot of money A cardboard box or me straight into the ground in a shroud would be fine by me
One daughter will have to do it all as both others live overseas so I would like it all done and dusted now so she doesn’t have much to do (my son will I know hate the thought of putting me in a cheap coffin and might try and persuade her to buy a ‘good’ one
I do want it sorted by me ASAP
Any parties, services etc can be what ever they want I don’t care
I hate funerals they are all show

absent Mon 25-Mar-19 05:33:03

BlueBelle Funerals have become increasingly elaborate and increasingly expensive not just recently, but over decades and centuries. However, I think it is important to remember when we are planing our own that, although we may be at the centre of the process, funerals are really for our grieving families and friends. They do want to say goodbye – and that is acknowledged as the first healing part of the grieving process – and they do want to acknowledge their love and affection. I think it would be hugely selfish to take away that opportunity.

That said, a lot of people these days are okay with the idea of a simple box or a green "container". A shroud might be a step too far for some, but why don't you talk to your daughter about your feelings and hers?

BradfordLass72 Mon 25-Mar-19 05:40:33

You could be talking about me when you say how frugal your MIL is and my wishes are like hers.

I would be quite happy not to even have a funeral but that would be denying my family the right to mourn in a way they may want. So I've left that up to them.

I would go for whatever economies you feel you MIL would approve of, you know her well enough and she trusts you to do it her way.

craftyone Mon 25-Mar-19 06:04:24

I bought a wicker coffin when my husband died. Paid for a lovely church tribute in a packed church. One family wreath on the coffin, a cremation and a gathering in the local pub. This was as basic as I would go. It was a loving fitting tribute, not over the top. Ashes went into the base of a new oak tree in a `life for a life` new woodland

In the old days, people always put money by for their funeral, deep down, they always wanted a good send off. A cardboard coffin and just cremation would not have shown enough respect. Plus of course, the funeral helps to draw the line an provides the last happy memory

SueH49 Mon 25-Mar-19 06:18:33

My mother (97 next month) has decreed that she is not having a funeral. She is donating her body to medical science and hence there will not be a body to bury or cremate. In response to being told there are many people who would expect to "see her off" so to speak her reply is ...then have a party and invite them all.

BlueBelle Mon 25-Mar-19 06:44:32

Absent I have talked to my daughter she knows that I want it cheap as poss and will do that for me but I want to be ahead of the game and have it done so she doesn’t have to have any words with my son who I know won’t agree I have said the same to him so I know he won’t want to accept a cheapie and yes I realise the funeral is for the living and they can have a party if that helps but my son lives so far away I d much rather him come before I die not after but I guess him and my other daughte overseas will feel they need to be there but then I won’t know so no point in worrying eh

Carolina55 Mon 25-Mar-19 06:50:08

My husband has chosen that option SueH49 and I will abide by his wishes if he goes first in the uk.

However if we’re in Spain when it happens then it’s cremation and wake in our local bar with a later scattering of the ashes off El Torcal!

I’m still thinking I’m gonna live forever......

Grammaretto Mon 25-Mar-19 07:17:45

DM offered her body to medical science but was told they had enough!
The Co-op, wicker casket, flowers from the market, friends singing and reading, cremation and the wake was a gathering at the house. Us siblings gathered and cooked beforehand while we reminisced and chose music.
She had outlived almost all her friends and winter made travelling hard .
There is a green burial ground near here when it's my turn.
Thankyou for starting this thread. It's important to know what's possible.

mumofmadboys Mon 25-Mar-19 07:25:34

Cheerytree is there any advantage to pre paying at this stage? Why not just have a bill afterwards having checked out their prices for basic fare?

maryeliza54 Mon 25-Mar-19 08:04:45

With the last funeral I was closely involved in organising, the coffin was to be draped in a flag. The absolutely lovely funeral director said immediately that it was therefore sensible to have the cheapest coffin as none of it could really be seen. In the last two years I have been to two ‘significant’ funerals and found them both a real comfort in my grief- yes funerals are for the living and it’s not for us to determine how others want to mourn us.

Auntieflo Mon 25-Mar-19 08:20:34

I recently read/heard/saw, something about funerals and shrouds. Woolen shrouds were a way of keeping the British woolen industry going in days past. I believe that bodies, wrapped in their shroud, went straight into the ground, no coffin, but I may be wrong. So, when did burying a body in a coffin become the way to go, as it were?
I have been thinking about having pre-paid funeral plans for DH and me, but haven't done anything about it yet. Perhaps we should .
Thanks for starting this thoughtful thread Cheerytree59 and I hope you get everything sorted out satisfactorily.

Lily65 Mon 25-Mar-19 08:30:49

Having been through this recently, I found the funeral director to be excellent. He sorted out all the arrangements and kept it simple and dignified.

aggie Mon 25-Mar-19 08:44:06

My Son and daughter went to the Funeral Director to choose the coffin etc , they were told no expensive things , I was taken aback at the most ornate coffin and trappings , but it was too late , couldn't turf him out and get cheaper . They said it was their Dad and wanted the best ............. they offered to help with the eye watering bill . They also said the wicker options were equally expensive . My Sister got the less expensive and told the director to take off the "brass" handles , seems most are best plastic ! It is possible to pay for everything and choose it before you go if you want your wishes complied with , but my children say the funeral is for the mourners and if they would have been unhappy with my choice I would be sad

aggie Mon 25-Mar-19 08:47:03

Oh yes .. then the funeral !! I picked the hymns and the readings , but as we walked up to the Chapel I was really in shock to see a big black Gazebo over the grave set out with chairs at the side , I am afraid it started hysterical giggles . I am sure is was very practical but really over the top .

BlueBelle Mon 25-Mar-19 08:48:53

I also thought the wicker that I ve looked at were expensive and that’s what put me off but I m hoping someone to point us to some cheap versions

Teetime Mon 25-Mar-19 09:12:53

We have both elected not to have a funeral and are putting this in our wills. I have spoken with the family and they understand they we feel that funerals are awful to attend and we prefer to have our remains dealt with as near to the day of death as possible with no ceremony at all. The family can do what they like after that. We do not wish our ashes to be scattered anywhere - yet another burden/job for the family. Its not really about the money for us more about how awful it is to attend funerals.

stella1949 Mon 25-Mar-19 09:13:46

not sure what happens the coffin metal adornments presumably they just melt

I read a book written by a crematorium worker - she said that those fitted metal adornments are removed before the coffin is cremated.

maryeliza54 Mon 25-Mar-19 09:30:35

When we scattered my relatives ashes, it wasn’t a burden,it was lovely. We did it a few months after the funeral when the key players ( about 10 of us) were able to get together. We went to a place he had played in and loved as a boy and then repaired to his favourite fish and chip cafe. We reminisced and laughed and had more time to share memories than we’d had at the more formal funeral. We’ve talked to dd about our funerals ( although I suppose it’s only the second one that will be her full responsibility unless we died together or the other one was incapacitated in some way) and whilst she wanted some ideas, she knows that the funeral is for her, other family members and our friends. She will do what is right at the time for those who want to mourn and pay tribute to us. We don’t know what the particular circumstances will be - that could change attitudes very much - but we trust her.

Grammaretto Mon 25-Mar-19 10:13:11

I met an artist who has made and decorated her own coffin which she keeps under her bed!
I think it's flat pack cardboard or plywood possibly. I haven't seen it.

Theoddbird Mon 25-Mar-19 10:44:49

I am having a simple funeral...chosen music. Born to be wild played when wicker coffin carried in and This is the Moment by Moody Blues as last music. Desederata will be read. All simple. Oh and The Lark Assending...my favourite classical piece played during. All no fuss. Wishing you Peace and Love as you go through the next few weeks x