Apparently my partner sent out some literature last week regarding costs of a burial as well as costs of cremation to a certain family that requested it. This is a common occurrence and we never even discussed it; there was no need.
Yesterday a woman called me explaining that her father was currently under hospice care and he wasn't expected to live through the night. She continued by telling me that she had received the material that I had sent her, looked it over, and had made a decision to cremate her father. I explained that it wasn't I who had sent the material however I could help her with anything she wanted, and did. Her father was in a nursing center and the majority of what he had saved had gone to them, he only had a certain amount of money left to put towards his funeral and she and her husband really weren't able to contribute too much over and above what her father had. The amount that she mentioned was going to get her father a "nice" cremation with all of the bells and whistles that she was requesting yet I felt a hesitation on her part. When I probed her about her decision she explained that her father had made her promise that no matter what, she wouldn't cremate him yet she didn't have the wherewith all to do as he had requested. She knew that she had to cremate him but she was afraid that this decision would haunt her for the rest of her life.
I couldn't let this woman cremate her father against his wishes simply because she was unable to pay the prices that this industry has set nor would I expect her to go into hock just to bury him. This is the part of what I do that I hate. As far as I'm concerned, money should never have to be a hindrance at this time of any one's life. I will do the funeral, burial, for the amount of money she has and that's the end of it. It may not be as elaborate as the last or next funeral I perform but it will satisfy her needs and possibly help with her sanity. She just lost her father, does she need this additional pain on top of that?
At the arrangement conference today I discovered that I was not their first funeral director of choice, however I was the only one who was even willing to consider what I did. That saddens me and also makes me realize that these funeral directors need to wake up and remember why they do what they do. I'm not going to die or starve because I'm doing this and I don't think that most others would either but the almighty buck is too often the driving force in peoples lives. When and if the day comes when I can't help a person who needs me it's time to just close my doors and look for a job painting lines in parking lots. And until that time I will continue to do what I do. Thursday we are driving 52 miles away to bury him.