Undertakings: Part 2

Where was I? It has been three weeks since Kathy passed away. There have been a few moments when my eyes have started welling up. It is funny how it happens at odd moments.

I was down at my accountant’s office. I don’t have much to account for, but I am lousy with numbers. They  wished me condolences and I started to tell them the story about the afternoon she passed away, donating Kathy’s body and the problems I had. I told them how the hospice nurse Shannon and I were dealing with med schools and funeral homes and Kathy was peacefully lying there with her slight smile. Then I got to the part about the funeral home charges. That snapped everyone out of it.

Speaking of funeral homes…. You may recall that the funeral home lowered the price by $815. Then, Fred, my lawyer sent him a letter asking why it was so much. The funeral home didn’t back down any further. Fred said I could go to the state licensing board, but I decided it was better for me to move on. Eventually, they sent me a check for almost $900 that included a rebate on part of the obituary cost.

deathCertI also received two copies of Kathy’s death certificate. They left out the town in Michigan (Hudson) where she was born. It said Unknown, Michigan. I went to the Hampden Town Clerk the other day and asked about changing it. It turns out it is a pain in the Mass. It has to go to the state and you have to prove everything and pay $75. I decided to let that go too although while I was there I got Marty his dog license. At least I got that done. That has been hounding me for months.

While funerals are on my mind. I did want to share some websites that actually compare funeral prices.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 3.50.56 PMThe Funeral Consumers Alliance  Is a nationwide group that monitors funeral homes and tracks pricing. By going to the Western Massachusetts chapter of the FCA, I found a price survey that would have helped, maybe. The problem is that they are not apples to apples. The “basic services” fees may be included in some of the other fees by some homes. The list for Western Massachusetts is really incomplete. Many homes would not cooperate (I wonder why?) The funeral home I used is not on this list, but I could have used a less expensive one. Some funeral homes do have their price lists on their websites so it pays to look. Other Massachusetts options I shoulda-coulda used are Casper Cremations  where it costs about $1400 and Kathy’s brain could have gone to the brain bank; and Eternal Blessings in Vermont. I liked their website and descriptions.

The problem with all of this is that I had already ‘undertaken’ this research. I had visited all these websites before. But once my ‘arrangement’ with UMass fell through I couldn’t think straight. By the way, I am still planning on donating my brain to the Harvard Brain Bank when my time comes. They may need a normal brain for comparison if I am still normal by then.

My next post will be about the fundraiser I have started on Indiegogo / Generosity to cover all this stuff and plan Kathy’s celebration.


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