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CNBC "Death" special
Old 03-18-2013, 07:01 PM   #1
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CNBC "Death" special

I imagine there are a lot more CNBC viewers here than in the general population, so many may know about or have seen this. But for those who haven't and may be interested: I happened across a CNBC special called "Death - It's A Living" last night and watched. It had particular relevance to me as I was recently involved in making final arrangements for someone who died, and there was a lot I didn't know going into it, so I learned a lot.

Grim topic, I know, and many simply don't want to think about it.

Here's the link to the online version (I think it's in Flash, so Apple users may have problems):

Business of Death
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:11 PM   #2
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I watched the show a few weeks ago. It was interesting to me. It does serve to remind oneself, if one wants to budget death expenses to have a plan set up. Couple points I thought were interesting. You can buy your casket from Costco ( basically the same one ) for considerably less instead of through the funeral parlor and they have to accept it. Another point was the tremendous increase in cremation the past 20 years, as it is a lot cheaper. Several states out west now have a higher percentage of cremations than traditional burials.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:05 PM   #3
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DW and I already have purchased cubby holes for our urns when when we are cremated, so that is one expense out of the way later. We were at that location to place DW's mother's urn there (the mother had purchased it years ago when she put her grandparent's urns there), and the facility had just opened some new spaces, so we impulse bought a large cubby hole for ourselves. and we got a good price also.

Of course, you realize that if more people were cremated, there would be fewer zombies and vampires hanging around
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:23 PM   #4
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I'll watch the video, but was at the funeral home today in that my 95 yo great aunt passed late last week and I am in charge of the funeral arrangements. She had thing prearranged about 20 years ago. What was eye opening to me was the cost - she is just having a graveside ceremony, embalming, casket, etc and the total cost is over $11,000. Could have been more. Absolutely ridiculous.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by timo2 View Post
DW and I already have purchased cubby holes for our urns when when we are cremated, so that is one expense out of the way later. We were at that location to place DW's mother's urn there (the mother had purchased it years ago when she put her grandparent's urns there), and the facility had just opened some new spaces, so we impulse bought a large cubby hole for ourselves. and we got a good price also.

Of course, you realize that if more people were cremated, there would be fewer zombies and vampires hanging around
That term is new to me (in this context, anyway). If I may ask, what sorts of facilties provide cubby holes?
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:26 PM   #6
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Thanks for posting on this show. I went to the link and ended up watching the entire show on Hulu. It gives me lots to think about.
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:24 AM   #7
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That term is new to me (in this context, anyway). If I may ask, what sorts of facilties provide cubby holes?
In using the phrase cubby hole I was facetiously referring to the place that the funeral people call a Niche that is a small space that holds an urn at a cemetery. In my case, the 'Niche wall' is a glass wall subdivided into 'niches', and one can put decorations or memorabilia with the urn for others to see through the glass.

Also, I can never remember the word 'Niche', and have to look it up whenever I want to use it. Since I had to look it up, I'll share the definitions:

Niche: A space in a columbarium, mausoleum or niche wall to hold an urn.
Cubby Hole: : 1 : a small hole or space for storing things 2 : a place (such as a room) that is very small
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:53 AM   #8
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My cousin was cremated, his siblings scattered his ashes at his favorite camping spot. The only problem with that is that family doesn't have a marker to visit but his kids & grandkids can go camping with him.
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:10 AM   #9
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I come from a long line of cheapskates.

My parents and maternal grandparents all donated their bodies to UCSD medical school. The memorial service did not have a casket because the med school came and retrieved the body. They harvest organs that can be used, and if there are none, they use it as a cadaver... My unsentimental bunch figures the body is no longer needed by the deceased - so why not have some good come from it...

Total costs - free. Except for the notary to fill out the form (ahead of death). Costs of the memorial service remain the same with/without the body.

My brother broke from this tradition. When he was nearing the end of his battle with cancer his minister, my sister, and I had a frank discussion. He wanted to buried in a "plain pine box.". He explicitly stated he did not want a lot of expense spent on this. When my sister was working with the cemetery in his preferred location she was shocked to see "plain pine boxes" cost upwards of $5k. She happened to flip to the back of the big book of caskets - and saw one for $800. She asked - it turns out it was intended for cremation. She asked if it could be used, legally. They said it could. So that's what we went with. Externally, looked EXACTLY the same.

I've got my paperwork in with UCSD medical school... continuing the cheapskate tradition. I realize that this is not for everyone... but I won't be around to care.
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:20 AM   #10
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My intent is to specify for me some sort of "green burial".



This part of the industry still needs to mature a bit, but I think it is a growing trend. I think zoning may be the key barrier at this point in time.

The whole formaldehyde-arterial-steel-casket-concrete-liner deal feels pretty icky to me personally. If the dirt nap is sooner rather than later, I will suggest cremation if green burial is impractical or awkward (or far away in some non-meaningful location).
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:35 AM   #11
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My cousin was cremated, his siblings scattered his ashes at his favorite camping spot. The only problem with that is that family doesn't have a place to go to for a visit.
Yes, I suppose the lack of a place to "visit" the deceased could be an issue. We have a couple dozen relatives buried in adjacent spaces in a local cemetary and I admit there is a bit of a feeling of comraderie when we remaining folks get to tromp around the graves on a special occasion or after a burial. But, I don't go to the cemetery very often.

I think cremation and scattering of the ashes will become much more popular in the future.

Recently some friends and I made a $500 contribution to our alma mater to have a deceased buddy's name added to a memorial wall on campus. When his widow visited campus and saw it, she immediately said that having his ashes in the cemetary seems like a waste. She'd now prefer to visit the memorial wall than the "warehouse of ashes" at the cemetary.

This kind of arrangement also solves the issue of whether the deceased woman gets buried next to her first husband, second husband, third husband, her parents, or?
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:51 AM   #12
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We are big into spreading ashes (even though it is illegal in our part of the world) and remembering the people when they were alive. Bro wanted his urn buried with Mom's body. It was quite inexpensive until we asked about the little brass plaque that they affix to her side of the headstone indicating his place in history.

They said that they now insist on a separate headstone below hers (for a mere $3600). We said no thanks. After we pass, there will be no one to remember anyway. Bastards! Let them all burn in hell for ripping off the living...

My ashes will be spread on the sand around Banderas Bay. I will not feel a thing...
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:54 AM   #13
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DW and I both want to be cremated. DW wants her ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean (same as her grandmother). I want my ashes scattered on my family's farm (in the orchard). Some of my family members objected to the ash scattering because there would be no place to "visit", quite frankly a non issue since they visit dead relatives in the cemetery only once a year, but I agreed to have a stone mark the spot.
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:00 PM   #14
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:16 PM   #15
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I think cremation and scattering of the ashes will become much more popular in the future.
To me, cremation and scattering of ashes is the way to go. We did this for my Dad a few years ago - he lived on the east coast of FL and wanted his ashes scattered in the Atlantic. Even though we chartered a boat for family and a few close friends, the total cost was much less than the typical funeral. I plan to be cremated as well.
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:19 PM   #16
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:30 PM   #17
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Recently some friends and I made a $500 contribution to our alma mater to have a deceased buddy's name added to a memorial wall on campus. When his widow visited campus and saw it, she immediately said that having his ashes in the cemetary seems like a waste. She'd now prefer to visit the memorial wall than the "warehouse of ashes" at the cemetary.
Very interesting point! I hadn't thought about it that way. The great thing is that instead of wasting money, value is instead added so other people can benefit.
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Old 03-19-2013, 05:16 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by timo2 View Post

In using the phrase cubby hole I was facetiously referring to the place that the funeral people call a Niche that is a small space that holds an urn at a cemetery. In my case, the 'Niche wall' is a glass wall subdivided into 'niches', and one can put decorations or memorabilia with the urn for others to see through the glass.

Also, I can never remember the word 'Niche', and have to look it up whenever I want to use it. Since I had to look it up, I'll share the definitions:

Niche: A space in a columbarium, mausoleum or niche wall to hold an urn.
Cubby Hole: : 1 : a small hole or space for storing things 2 : a place (such as a room) that is very small
Thanks, that makes sense. We will look into this, I currently have the cremains at my home.
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Old 03-19-2013, 05:29 PM   #19
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Thanks for this link - very interesting stuff.

We have a friend who is a retired policeman. He has about 20 motorcycles in his garage (some for parts) that he and his other retired buddies ride rode as escorts for funerals. He's had to tell most of his buddies there's not enough work for them, as ~50% of all funerals around here are cremations, hence there's no escort needed to get to the cemetery,

Side-effects of things like this are interesting to me.
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Old 03-19-2013, 05:37 PM   #20
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My father asked me to scatter his ashes at his favorite fishing area (Atlantic Ocean near Long Island). I happen to own a folding kayak that I can toss in the trunk of the car and assemble at water's edge in about 15 minutes. Drove to the area, paddled out and took care of it. Took a few photos in the process.

After I returned, I showed the photos to my mother, who really liked the idea and asked me to put her ashes in the same place. Took care of that last year.

My ashes will be scattered at one of my personal favorite spots. However, DW is still wrestling with what to do. On one hand, she likes the easy method described, but doesn't know where it should be done. On the other hand, there is a small cemetery with her family members going back nearly 200 years, and that also appeals to her. Time will tell.

The rest of my relatives are generally in national cemeteries, and I've thought about that, too. I qualify for Arlington, but I think the experience would be overwhelming for DW, so I'll take the simple way out and have her scatter me in the Rocky Mountains.
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