I was reading the obituary section of the newspaper today and came across something I have never seen before. After listing the deceased, his date of birth and passing, his surviving relatives and services, there was the following paragraph (names & places changed):
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Smith family, c/o Jane Smith, 20 Main Street, Any town, USA 12345
The lady who you are supposed to send the contributions to is the mother of the deceased.
Have you ever came across this or something similar? I have often seen where the family would write, “In lieu of flowers, please donate to the XYZ Society”, but never to the actual family.
I wonder if this would be considered a faux pas? I may be over-thinking it, but it seems that the family may be playing on the sympathies of the mourners to round up some cash. It does not state that the family needs help paying for the funeral cost so I wonder why they would request people to send money, to the mother, rather than flowers. Personally, I don’t think an obituary would be the place to ask for donation of any kind, much less to the family of the deceased.
I would appreciate your thoughts and the thoughts of your readers.
Yes, I’ve seen it before. Expectations that others will fund the milestone events of one’s life is becoming a cradle to grave phenomenon. Others are expected to financially help us get married, enjoy a great honeymoon, warm your new house up with goodies, have babies, host birthday parties, go on missions/volunteer trips, pay for education, and pay for a funeral. I’m sure I missed a few in there.
The mother of the deceased is soliciting money from the community to mitigate the costs of a funeral and burial. Granted, embalming, caskets, vaults,funeral director fees, chapel rental, etc are very costly but there are other alternatives. Cremation is often a fraction the cost of embalming and burial, usually between $300.00 and $1,000.00. For those opposed to cremation, the onus is on you to prepare for your eventual death with enough life insurance or savings to cover the funeral costs so that your family is not tempted to humiliate themselves with public begging in order to properly bury you.
Addendum: To those already commenting that life insurance for minor-aged children may not be affordable, please note that Gerberlife.com offers $5,000.00 of life insurance (enough to cover funeral costs) for $3.14 a month. Similar life insurance companies offer comparable prices. For a 50-year old non-smoking female, burial life insurance can be as low as $10.00/month and increase each decade of age to $35.00/month at age 80. Even young adults can acquire $5,000.00 in burial insurance for about $3.50/month. (Good heavens, I’m beginning to sound like a life insurance commercial.) So, for the cost of one mocha latte or a Happy Meal or 2 3-liter bottles of soda or a gallon of milk each month, burial insurance is quite affordable. The problem is that a lack of planning creates the emergency others must bail a person or family out of. Just like people who intuitively know there are statistically high odds of getting married yet never bother to put money aside into savings to pay for that eventuality and either go into debt or go looking to friends and family to cover the expenses. Sadly, death is even more certain than a wedding.