opt out

I learned something new about the Co-op’s Funeral services today. They run a bit of desk-top publishing on the side. And right now they are running an offer. Die now, and get a free set of service booklets printed.

Which becomes rather more complicated if you’re a Piskie, and your service booklet needs to have more than a photo and the names of hymns (cross-referenced with the dusty Hymns Ancient and Presbyterian at the crematorium). For the co-op can only offer 4 sides of A5 for the text.

So, the funeral I will do next week will have the special offer co-op booklets on the outside, and the KB special on the inside. It’s all free this time, so we run with it.

But I saw the price list over the man’s shoulder.

Normally, the Co-op charge mouners anywhere from £50 – £150 for funeral booklets (depending on the number).

Every priest I know offers exactly the same service for free.

Oh, but the Co-op’s are professionally printed, I hear you say.
Yes. But that doesn’t mean they know how to print a booklet with evenly spaced margins. The samples I saw would have gone in my recycling pile.

So, dear mourners, save your money. Talk to your priest. And do not let the co-op talk you into things you don’t want and would be better done by someone else anyway.

On the other hand, I would recommend the service offered by this very clever feline in Rhode Island. She curls up with dying patients in the nursing home to let the nurses know it’s time to call the family…

14 thoughts on “opt out”

  1. I couldn’t agree more about the Co-op, Kimberly – they are a disgrace in this printing thing as in other things as well. So, why is is then that they do 90% of the funerals here and I guess in most other places too? I’ll never know.

  2. I liked both cats. My own is known as the Messiah – it began as an elaborate family joke but seemed appropriate. True story: Bea brought a number of friends to stay, and so we had recourse to the time honoured family practise of turfing the youngest out of his bedroom, to allow it be be used for guests. One of Bea’s friends practises meditation. She retired to the bedroom to do it. George’s cat, the Messiah, also retired to meditate. It was after all HER room. Upon spotting a human lying suitable still, she sat upon the most prominent part of the guest, the chest, and leaned down, as close as one could get to a kiss without touching. Friend does not much like animals, so moved the cat. Lay down. Cat moved back. Friend explained to the cat about personal space. We believe the cat explained the idea of group meditation. The cat was moved again, returned again, and resumed meditation. The friend, perhaps disturbed by a mixed aroma of pilchards and field mouse, abandoned both meditation and the bedroom. The Messiah, having the superior power of concentration, folded in her paws, and continued to meditate.

  3. Clearly a very advanced cat.

    It took me a year and a half to teach Molly to pray.

    And like so many people, she gave up after a while and took to napping instead.

  4. My grandma always said she’d come back and haunt us if we got the Co-op to do her funeral. Now I know why.

    I think I do a lovely Order of Service and much more professional than any Undertaker junior playing with desk-top publishing. And I don’t charge for it either.

  5. Loved those feline stories.

    Have to ask something….. why is there only general conversation about death when someone dies?

    I know I don’t follow life with the general views of society as I believe everything should be open for discussion whether medical, work, pensions, life and death, etc the list of topics is endless. The biggest fear we all have is in the unknown. I believe my spirit will live on in some way and I’m happy to donate any part of my body except my eyes (pathway to the soul and all that), and skin – haven’t figured out my issue with that yet so that may change in time. Surely if we spoke of such things we would all know what kind of send off to give and truly, and I do mean truly, celebrate the life that was here and wish our loved ones a safe journey to the next life, and maybe hope for a postcard of sorts ;o)

  6. Um – it is possible that Bridget (large middle aged dog) prays – she is very independent and a late riser who likes to lie still with her eyes open. We have our doubts, but she certainly does not interrupt the processes of others. Puppy (15 years old) I think regards me as God – she is not terribly bright but very loyal. She is trained to lie still in the morning, but the evening taxes her. She likes to snuggle down for a good wash – I permit it so long, and then protest. She sighs deeply and stops. Max finds prayer incomprehensible. Max is a Labrahound, or perhaps a Greyadore. He arrived Good Friday,and is now a year old. He is the most good natured dog I’ve ever had, and the most level tempered. But he does not see why anybody would be still if they could be moving. He things everybody should greet the morning by anything but rising noisily, rejoicing in the continued miracle of life in everyone in sight, and chasing their tail while waiting for others to join in the general business of chasing anything which moves. He is disturbed when his excellent sharp senses tell him I am alive and not moving – what is it? Some malign paralysis? Perhaps I could be licked back to health?

    I think, momisa, that we are all afraid of troubling others when they are already carrying a great burden of grief. Some find relief in words, but some are burdened by them. They long for the comfort of ritual phrases, which really just say: I do care, very much, but I don’t want to disturb you right now. the easy time to speak is when death is a general and not a specific idea.

    I have instructions on my computer (creatively filed under ‘funeral’) and the children have been told to look there.

    I’m not a verse writer – but irritated to death by ‘Do not stand at my grave & weep’ I have an antidote poem filed there. I want a proper requiem mass … I change the readings all the time, but currently they are John 1 – Phil 2 and from Jeremiah (forget ch and verse, it’s the amazing bit where Jeremiah suddenly realises how Yhwh is suffering, and also promises life to Baruch.) And I want everybody to wear black, howl buckets, and take my pony to the grave side with my boots reversed in his stirrups. Some G M Hopkins would be nice – ‘As kingfishers catch fire…’ Dreadful bunch for the poor sod taking the service to draw a sermon out of.

  7. He things everybody should greet the morning by anything but rising noisily,

    Soz, should be

    He thinks everybody should greet morning by rising noisly.

  8. Rosemary, I think you’d better clarify the Jermiah reading. If you were to die on my watch and you hadn’t specified chapter and verse, I’d assume you were asking for the whole blessed thing.

  9. Good assumption – way to go! I’ve indicated the passage, I believe – if I ever finish this xyz book, I’ll locate ch and verse.

  10. It’s Jeremiah 45. No I’ve not finished the book. Sigh. But it is astonishing stuff.
    The word that the prophet Jeremiah spoke to Baruch son of Neriah, when he wrote these words in a scroll at the dictation of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah: Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to you, O Baruch: You said, ‘Woe is me! The Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning, and I find no rest.’ Thus you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: I am going to break down what I have built, and pluck up what I have planted—that is, the whole land.And you, do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for I am going to bring disaster upon all flesh, says the Lord; but I will give you your life as a prize of war in every place to which you may go.’

  11. Baruch is a strong man, but there is always a breaking point. The two of us in a hostile land, perceived as it enemies, penniless. It was there that he reached the point of absolute loss: ‘Yahweh is adding loss to misery, I no longer can find rest or peace – nothing good or wholesome,’ he cried.
    Then I understood something – tried to tell him. I do not know if he ever understood, or if you can understand. I had thought my own misery the greatest, while Yahweh betrayed me. Yahweh, the great, the strong, the happy. Yahweh happy? For years he had laboured to build up for himself this people. He had called to Abraham, he had led Moses, and even given him his own name to use. He had enthroned David. He had tried and tried to instil the things he valued into his people, sending prophet after prophet to speak of what he really wanted, valued. The countries of Israel and Judah were his creation. He had already broken Israel, and now he was destroying Judah, his last real hope of creating what he really wanted to see. His Temple was smashed and burned, all his holy things were melted down to fill the coffers of Babylon. It was he who suffered most as his covenant with Israel and Judah was broken, it was he who paid the price of the shallowness of his people, and his dreams which were smouldering to dust in the burnt-out wreck of Jerusalem. Our misery was terrible – but it was only a shadow of his misery. Who were we to seek for great things for ourselves, while he suffered? We were privileged if our suffering echoed his suffering.

  12. Rosemary, you need a blog.

    Failing that, do you want to do a regular bible commentary/study/reflection on the new St Paul’s website (say once or twice a month?)

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