You know times are tough when you can't even afford to die:
So, like a lot of family members faced with funeral expenses, especially in these tough financial times, Mrs. Pickett was taken aback at the cost of laying her mother to rest.
"A very, very simple cremation, no urn, just a plastic box, guest book, memorial cards," she says, listing the expenses, which she tried to keep low.
For the memorial service, she rented the local inn at a municipal park for $430, but supplied her own boom box for music so she didn't have to pay an extra $100 to use the sound system. Co-workers and her employer provided the food for the 50 or so guests who attended.
[. . .]
It was even simpler than Mrs. Pickett had first envisioned. And still the grand total was about $3,300.
I have mixed feelings about funerals. They seem to cost an awful lot of money at a time when families have trouble making sensible decisions about money. But I've been to enough of them to know that the distraction provided by the rituals helps loved ones get through the period of numbness when they're not sure yet how they're going to cope. I've been torn about my own sendoff, at times thinking I wanted all my loved ones to throw an elaborate celebration of my life lasting for days, sometimes thinking I'd rather just have my ashes put in a coffee can and taken to the Appalachians and thrown into the wind.
Finally, I realized I don't care one way or the other. Ain't really my party.