ROSE NOLEN: Cost of funerals is outrageous

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — My son and I visited a family cemetery a few weeks ago. This was an unusual occurrence for me since I am not normally a cemetery visitor.

But I thought it was important for my son to know where members of his family were interred. My principal objection to the entire business of burials has to do with the cost of the process. I am opposed to the cost of funerals, and I therefore abstain.

This particular cemetery houses the remains of my Missouri family. It begins with my great-grandfather and great-grandmother. So I dutifully made a list of the family members who are buried there and reserved it for my son.

As for the matter of the cost, I find it absolutely ridiculous. Other than the care of the body, the container to place it in and the property in which it is buried, I see no reason why it should cost any more. I find the entire cost of funerals to be ridiculous.

People tell me that the average cost of a funeral is $7,000. Believe me, I understand the feelings of the situation. People want to feel that they have done the best for their loved one. Nevertheless, I feel that the cost is out of line.

Most people pay their entire life for the cost of a funeral policy. That’s a lot of money to pay for putting people to rest. Still, people are sentimental, so in most cases they feel it’s worth it.

In many families, funerals are a grand tradition. Some people plan their going away services carefully. I have some friends who have the music they want played and the prayers they want recited already chosen. They have definitely decided against cremation and have notified their family of their wishes.

The cemetery where my family members are buried is beautiful. It is truly a pleasant place to visit. I would be pleased to have my entire family ultimately buried there. And I don’t suppose there are any rules against putting someone in a plain box and burying them there, but I haven’t asked. Actually, though, it wouldn’t be worth $7,000 to me.

Fortunately, people have a choice. Every now and then, the price of dying comes up in a story, but for the most part, people accept it and most people pay it.

The truth is whether you like it or not, the price is what it is, and you’ll never get out of this world alive. Pay up.

Rose M. Nolen writes a weekly column for the Missourian. You can join the conversation by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at


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