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Funeral wishes

(109 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'.
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

ReadyMeals Mon 25-Mar-19 10:50:27

I feel that the practical funeral arrangements should be made to suit the mourners - especially the ones who are actually having to arrange it. My only stipulation is that the service has to be a religious one, not a "celebration of my life". I always feel that if I want to go to heaven I need to be a bit humble about it at my funeral, not turn myself into a sort of celebrity for the day.

Charleygirl5 Mon 25-Mar-19 10:54:06

I have no family and I did not want my two POAs to be forking out large sums of money for my simple funeral. My funeral plan is paid for so everybody is happy.

I would be very happy to bypass the church to be cremated. I was hoping to donate my body to medical science but no beause the body has to be perfect- no swollen joints etc. No such luck here.

Harris27 Mon 25-Mar-19 10:59:37

Today I'm awaiting the same wish you well x

Nanniesea Mon 25-Mar-19 11:01:28

I have recently lost my father it was sudden, so no final wish. His previous wish was always for the cheapest cremation we could find, then more recently upon learning of ‘cremation without ceremony’ he expressed his wish for this, if it was possible. My mother abided by his wishes. She used all the money saved, to splash out on a beautiful celebration of his life.
I was amazed at the number of people who objected to this way of cremation. But to me it was much easier to think of Dad on the day, rather then sitting looking and crying for him lying in a coffin. My final memories were sad enough without adding to them. My mother is now waiting to pre pay for the same cremation for herself, so no one can arrange anything different when her time comes.

jaylucy Mon 25-Mar-19 11:04:37

One of the hardest things to do is to organise a funeral for someone else.
When my mum died unexpectedly, I thankfully had had several conversations with her on the subject - that she wanted to be cremated and that there were 2 bank/building society accounts that she had paid into to pay for hers and my father's funerals ( that was news to my dad, he had no idea!!)
So we had a church service ( she was always involved in our local one) the choice of coffin was left up to the funeral director as was the shroud . We just needed to order the flowers, and hymns. All followed by a simple service at the crem.
When my dad died, we just went for similar arrangements, without the church service - much to the disgust of an aunt! Dad was not too impressed with the vicar and the lack of contact from church members after mum died. We also made it more personal for him as we had a motorbike and sidecar hearse - much to the disgust of the same aunt- dad had always had a love of motorbikes and until I was 5, we had a motorbike and sidecar!

knspol Mon 25-Mar-19 11:10:35

Teetime, I agree absolutely. I decided long ago no funeral for me. Funerals and the lead up to them are torture for all concerned particularly with the long delays beforehand which seem to have become the norm.

Jacqui1956 Mon 25-Mar-19 11:17:41

My mum passed away last year and like many she wanted a basic funeral. She was adamant that she didn’t want flowers as she used to go mad when she saw them all lying on the ground at the crematorium. We opted for a cremation and had a humanist services, my mum wasn’t religious and neither are we. We had the cheapest coffin, only the hearse to carry the coffin and we all went in our own cars and met at the crematorium. We opted not to have a vicar as I really didn’t want someone talking about a woman they had never met. Instead both adult grandchildren talked about ‘nana’, what they loved about her, some funny antidotes, the story of her life etc. I read a poem which I felt depicted my mum perfectly. We choose Vera Lynn singing We’ll meet again as the music (my mum was a NAAFI girl during the Second World War). Myself and my 2 children placed a red rose each on the coffin. The funeral director came up to me afterwards and said that it was one of the nicest cremations he had attended in a very long time because it was totally about my mum.

MadGrandma Mon 25-Mar-19 11:20:04

In the last 3 weeks I have had to learn about this subject very quickly. My husband was taken into hospital for palliative care on 1st April and died the following morning at 2.30am, I did not even have time to get to the hospital to say goodbye and tell him how much I loved him. However he had always said "that a lime pit was good enough for Mozart - I'll take the same!" As there are no lime pits in Essex we had previously decided on cremation, as simple as possible.
I am just coming to the end of my own cancer treatment and did not feel that I could cope with a funeral and all the attendant "fuss", so after discussion with our daughter we opted for an unattended cremation, with the ashes being returned to me. We can then decide on a suitable place to scatter his ashes and a celebration once I get over feeling so fatigued. I think he would have been happy with this choice, and as our daughter lives many miles away, I think I'll prepay for a similar package for myself.
Today I receive his ashes back home and I expect to have a meltdown as the reality of the last 3 weeks finally hits me.sad

MadGrandma Mon 25-Mar-19 11:20:53

That should have read 1st March NOT April of course!!!

cathyd Mon 25-Mar-19 11:24:18

We have discussed this with both my daughters and they are in agreement with our wishes. H and I will be taken straight to cremation, no casket, no service, no cars etc. They will be given ashes at a date suitable to them and if they want a 'wake' there will be funds available to give everyone a chance to say bye. Coop is cheapest but still not available to pre pay, but DDs are willling to arrange this on our demise.

Nona4ever Mon 25-Mar-19 11:25:20

My mother absolutely adored flowers and was adamant that there be none at her funeral -‘flowers are for the living, not for the dead,’ she used to say.
So when she died, my father respected her wishes and banned any floral tributes. But her coffin looked so very very bleak that I begged my dad to just let me put a single flower from the garden on it. He wouldn’t let me. But I KNOW my mum would have been OK with this if it helped to ease my grief which it certainly would have done, Even now, over 30 years later, I feel a pang when I think of the lonely, joyless box she was put to rest in.

PernillaVanilla Mon 25-Mar-19 11:25:41

DH and I had both written our funeral wishes a while back. We then had the experience of arranging my mother's funeral in November last year. Everyone said we gave her a good and suitable send off with a religious ceremony and a nice afternoon tea for the relations. It really brought it home to me that I neither found this a consolation or something that honoured her true spirit. it was also a long and protracted ordeal to arrange and participate in. DH and I have now decided that when we die we want a "pure cremation" with no ceremony. We will leave a generous amount of money for all our friends and relations to meet up and have a splendid lunch a few months later when they can all get p****d and remember the good times. My recent experiences have taught me that you need to decide what you want, put arrangements in place and not go into old age with a house full of clutter if you want to be considerate to your children and give them a relaxed opportunity to grieve.

lhggns Mon 25-Mar-19 11:26:22

Strangely, I have recently been reading about a Cremation without Ceremony which the Coop was advertising. The body is picked up, cremated and you have the choice of keeping the ashes or they will scatter them. No fuss and it’s really cheap compared to the alternatives. This really appeals to me.

Luckygirl Mon 25-Mar-19 11:28:21

I don't particularly care about the how it is done - I would like it to be done in whatever way gives comfort to my DDs - if indeed the need comforting! But I very definitely do NOT want funeral directors or their staff poncing around in black suits and top hats etc. - at my Dad's there was a huge women so dressed - and blooming silly she looked too!

Juliet27 Mon 25-Mar-19 11:30:46

Teetime. We've said exactly the same!!

Grammaretto Mon 25-Mar-19 11:34:04

MadGrandma hugs and flowers
You are having a tough time. May you get some peace now.
Cherrytree59 wishing you all the best at this difficult time.

Witzend Mon 25-Mar-19 11:36:23

My father always said he'd come back and haunt anyone who wasted money on flowers for his funeral.

Since she rather wished he would, my mother did put a small posy on his coffin. She was disappointed that he never carried out his threat, but she did swear years later that he came to her just once, shortly after an accident which had written her car off.

My mother's funeral was simple, but we did have some lovely favourite hymns of hers, plus her youngest granddaughter's beautiful soprano solo of Panis Angelicus with her school choir, which we had on CD.
I'd quite like that at mine, too.

Redgran18 Mon 25-Mar-19 11:37:37

My mum died last year. She was very specific that she thought spending a lot of money on her funeral was wasteful. She said she’d be perfectly happy with a cardboard coffin ! So that’s what she got! £99.

sarahellenwhitney Mon 25-Mar-19 11:45:27

Cherrytrees 59. My thoughts are with you at such a sad time in your life
It matters not what others think, say or would do.If what
you have informed those of us on GN is what your MIL wanted then honour her wishes.

spabbygirl Mon 25-Mar-19 11:50:05

My mother was never religious and didn't want an expensive funeral, but she loved France and anything pink, so we all wore pink, played French music and sat around talking about happy memories of her. I feel much more at peace about that then if we'd foisted a service on her. She had the most lovely passing though, she was 89 & very poorly but in her last few weeks in her mind she went back to the life she had in her early years. They always say someone from your past comes to meet you, & I think that was true for mum.

4allweknow Mon 25-Mar-19 11:52:18

My view is that a lot of the cost of a funeral is unnecessary expense and is sometimes only to impress others. I have been involved in a conversation where it landed into a comparison of costs, almost a competition on who spent the most. Basic is all I have asked for, humanitarian service, no flowers (limited space at crematorium anyway) but voluntary donation to charity. I feel burials take up much needed space in this little island, the maintenance costs of graveyards are horrendous and go on forever. Just scatter me on a hillside.

Camelotclub Mon 25-Mar-19 12:02:14

I told my husband to put me out with the bins!

I'd quite like a Viking funeral but I don't think Health & Safety would approve. Put in a little boat and sent out to sea after it's set on fire (the boat).

Tweedle24 Mon 25-Mar-19 12:13:39

My sister and I became widows within eighteen months of each other, I just had a basic wooden coffin for my husband as we had agreed, like many others on here, that anything more would be a waste of money. This particularly as it was a cremation. At her husband’s request, my sister got him a wicker coffin because he worked with wood and could not bear the thought of good wood being burned. What surprised me was how more expensive the wicker one was.

SaraC Mon 25-Mar-19 12:16:24

I’m pretty sure there’s still a company in Bristol (can’t remember the name - sorry) which will make your coffin (and lid) for you, then fit it with shelves so it can be used for books, ornaments, whatever else until you need it. I also, for long time, had a lovely piece of white marble which I bought as an ‘off cut’ and used as a pot stand/chopping board with the intention of it being eventually used as a memorial plaque. Sadly had to leave it in the UK. An old aquaintance once told me she was going to have some of her ashes put into a large egg timer so that her children would still be able to put her to use!

1inamillion Mon 25-Mar-19 12:38:27

Cherrytree sorry to hear about your current situation, a sad time for you. Just carry out your MiL's wishes, you will be so glad afterwards.
At end of January we organised a joint funeral for my husband's mother and father, who died in hospital within 6 days of each other. They were religious and wanted cremation. We knew their wishes, MiL had requested that the coffins rest in the church overnight before their cremation. The vicar did a short service for just my DH and I and the two grandchildren at 6pm after they finished work. We were able to say our good byes in private so to speak. We learned later that there had been bell ringing practice that evening, my MiL would have liked that.
They were both 94 years old and my FiL had said recently that there was no one left to go to his funeral, he meant any of his generation, which was sadly true. There was still a good turn out of family and neighbour's.
We are comforted by knowing that we had ascertained their wishes and carried them out, which were mainly what your Mil has requested.
Hope this helps. ?