Dying is expensive

I asked if I could wear my black sneakers to the funeral and my dad said it’s better if you don’t. When I packed, I brought two black outfits with me. I thought about the shoes when packing, but thought I could get away with wearing black sneakers. My only pair of black shoes has some white trim on it anyway and I didn’t want to pack boots for 70 degree September days.

I have been in New York for a week and I am exhausted both mentally and physically. I flew in on a red eye on Tuesday, my grandmother died the next day on Wednesday. I think she waited for me to visit with her one last time. When my brother and I decided to admit her to the hospital I flew home on the next available flight. Around 2 p.m. when I started to fall asleep in the hospital chair, I said I was going home to take a nap. As soon as I walked out of the hospital, she died.

It has been several long days since Tuesday. My heart feels as if it a weight were crushing me, a heaviness I cannot shake. My body is physically exhausted from the packing and walking up and down her 6 story walk up to remove her belongings.

As if the act of dying were not difficult enough, dealing with one’s personal affects and taking care of one’s affairs is draining.

First, informing family and friends, is tiring, in of itself, having these conversations repeatedly. Then, you move on to the practical of turning off the utilities, paying bills/rent, closing accounts, etc.

You set a date for the funeral services and burial. You buy the funeral offerings and red envelopes to tip driver/attendants and anyone else who provides a service during the service. You go to the restaurant to make a reservation for the dinner after the funeral and burial service. You go to the temple to schedule a date for Buddhist monks to chant and pray for the deceased. You buy more funeral offerings to be burned at the temple. Then you deal with the apartment, packing up and giving away everything they owned. I hate moving and it’s even worse having to do it for someone else. When all is said and done, death costs about $20,000. Most people have life insurance and for those who don’t, you should get it, so when someone else has to take care of your affairs in the after life, they can do so without worry about the financials.

Just as there are wedding planners, there should be funeral planners. I would have gladly paid someone else to handle all of these things for me. This is now the third time, in what seems like not a very long time that we’ve had to do this process again and it is does not get any easier with practice.

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