The Cost of Death
As we age we attend more and more funerals, until one day they attend ours. As certain as death and taxes.
When we were young we felt like we were going to live forever. And we dived into pools that we knew were too deep for us, we climbed trees that we knew were too tall for us, and we ran downhill at speeds too fast for us. Somehow by the many and everlasting mercies of God, we survived the bumps and scrapes and scares.
Between modern medicine and our guardian angel we somehow made it to middle age.
Only to bury our loved ones funeral after doleful funeral. We do our best to encourage each other with the promises of paradise beyond the banks of Jordan. Yet we lament for the saved and the unsaved because we are human, and death is an enemy for every single human being. It is the stranger among us, the known but uncontrollable factor in the equation of our existence.
Salvation in Jesus Christ gives the believer a peace in life which sustains him in the face of death; yet we are all a little unwilling to surrender to the Grim Reaper. For life despite its pain, its disappointments, its drudgery, is still a beautiful and wonderful gift to be cherished until the last breath.
We arrive at funerals to say good bye to the dead. But the dead cannot hear us. So we speak word to comfort the living. On the day when the family members just want to cry and say goodbye.
We proclaim great word about the usefulness of faith and the uselessness of money, on the day when every possible beneficiary in the will is hoping for a big share in the estate.
The day of the funeral is a day of paradox. When sinners are remembered as saints and the corrupt are memorialised as pure.
And if mourning the loss of a loved one is not enough of a weight on the living, every single stage of the funerary day is expensive. Consider the hearse which arrives with the body laid out in the best coffin; we are talking major expenses. Think of the cause of death of the dear departed; quite likely the family had to deal with a long and expensive illness. Need I mention the cost of storing and preparing the body?
The church is usually free or very minimal in cost. But hold it! Think of the new suits, shoes, hairstyles and hats acquired because of the occasion. Add up the hotel rooms, airfares, car rental, and other expenses.
Wait, we are not finished. The programme in you hand had to be printed, at a cost to somebody. And will someone please remind me why people need to videotape funerals. Who really want to view a funeral? The police for investigations, and a few hard core friends who missed it. OK.
And for those who insist on a touch of class at the service for their loved ones, they will spare no expense to employ singers and musicians form near and far. Performers will tell you tales of being owed monies long after special services like these.
Let’s make our way to the final resting place, the cemetery. That plot has to be paid for. And if you are in my country there is a horrid habit on the part of gravediggers to solicit mourners for tips.
The list of funeral expenses might end there for some cultures; but in my country you now journey to the home of the deceased or a rented hall for the repast, where you can expected to be fed while socialising with family and friends.
Death is really an enemy. Of the heart and of the purse.