The Absurd Cost of Death and Dying

We lost our beloved “mother,” Lela Nelson Rhodes, following a long illness, several weeks ago.  She was a very wise, loving and wonderful woman.  She was also very frugal. When she died, peacefully at home, we called our local undertakers at, Frank E. Campbell, not far away in Manhattan.  They quickly picked up Lela’s body, took it to the funeral home and arranged for cremation, for which they used their own facility and did not have to pay an outside vendor.  There were no viewing hours, no expensive casket, only the minimum pine box that is required for cremation.  There were no extra services of any kind.  We were shocked and horrified at the cost:  $11,086.75.

This, in our opinion, is an utter rip-off.  Mother would have surely come back to life from the grave to stop this insanity had she been able to.  She was the type of woman who was hesitant to have quadruple by-pass surgery at the age of 83 as she worried that the expense of that operation could have gone towards helping others.  We assured her that others would benefit as the doctors would gain much needed knowledge by operating on a woman of her age.  She reluctantly agreed, and the operation was a success. She lived for another 12 years!

The only reason I am writing this is to warn people in a similar state of grief and distress, that Frank E. Campbell radically over-charges and those contemplating using their services should be forewarned!  I subsequently have discovered that in similar circumstances one can arrange for “direct cremation” with a crematory of one’s choosing.  Surely the savings of several thousands of dollars in doing so could have benefitted many of the important causes that “mother” believed in and contributed to generously during her life time!  And others, by being forewarned, can act in a way that is more in accord with the values of their “dearly departed.”

About the author

Charles is a Presbyterian minister, writer, editor, activist, publisher and public theologian.


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