Thursday, September 15, 2016


Death waits for no-one, we might not know the where, why or when - but we are all guaranteed release from this mortal coil. 

Life expectancy on our little piece of real estate out here in the North Atlantic lags a little behind the rest of Canada. The average male life expectancy here is 77, women fare a little better at 81. 

We plan for retirement, we plan for educating our children, we file taxes and write our wills. Why would we not be planning our final funeral arrangements instead of offloading that cost to friends, family and the state?

It seems selfish and irresponsible to not prepare for the inevitable. The emotional turmoil of a death, even after a long life, is stressful enough without passing on financial stress those we inevitable leave behind.

On the surface, The story in the local media this week about the Ontario family that could not afford to pay the $484 cremation bill for a family member who died in this province is sad. 

The deceased body spent 40 odd days in the morque because local crematories were not willing to pay the costs associated with cremating the body unless they were guaranteed payment. 

Millions of dollars are expended by provincial governments every year in this country to provide funeral arrangements for thousands because no one else can or will. 

Some of these people are homeless with no known next of kin. Others lived in poverty, on tight fixed incomes that struggled paying the bills while they were alive.  Don't they deserve a dignified send off? 

Sure, we should all plan for our own deaths, but for those who can not, we should offer compassion, support and dignity rather than treating human remains like collateral at a pawn shop that will not be returned until the fees are paid.

There for the grace of God, goes us all.

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