I am beyond, beyond sorry for your loss. Just beyond, Kristi. And right now with all the financial costs, Jesus.
This is a powerfully BRAVE piece. And thank you for the wherewithal and the courage to make a list that speaks to the unspeakable- how we can help. The REAL actions that can relieve the burdens. Thank you.
This one fired me up, Kristi. The bit about seeing your loved one one last time? Here's my story: my brother committed suicide. He was warehoused in a spot where, when I got permission from his girlfriend (who had that power), I was told I had to pony up three hundred bucks to see my brother, because they had to prepare him, and me for the shock. OMG, I should have sold tickets to what I did next.
I blasted that stupid vampire with every single thing I had. I am ex-Army, I have seen death, and YOU DO NOT CHARGE ME MONEY TO SEE MY GODDAMNED FUCKING BROTHER.
OMG I was so livid. There followed one of those sick-funny exchanges which was the precise duplicate of a used car salesman carrying your offer to the manager, back and forth. Each time she did it I peeled off another layer of her skin. When she started to bleed and I was down to bone, she relented.
You do not DARE do that. YOU DON'T DARE DO THAT.
I didn't pay a red cent. Not a red cent. I went to see my big brother, met with all the ridiculous seriousness of a movie undertaker. I marched in, slammed the door in his face and spent time with my big brother. I didn't need much time. He'd been a predator, but with his passing, I became the last of the family line. I needed him to silently pass me the torch for the family. There is something sacred in that, and I will NOT pay for what is sacred between family members with difficult history.
These people are NOT prepared for self-righteous fury. Not AT ALL. They are extremely good at manipulating you and me at our most vulnerable. That's their business model. It sickens me.
I would add that any family member, anywhere, has the sacred right to view a loved one, without having to pay for it. Let me say that again: WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY FOR IT. Kindly, whose family member is it, anyway? As much pain as I was in, as hard as it was to fight, I found a well within me of utter and complete outrage. Funeral homes are not prepared for that. I have rarely been so proud of myself for standing up for what I know was right.
And frankly, since they are paid to prey on our lack of preparedness for death, I say let's return the favor.
Again, Kristi, this is why I love your work. Brave, difficult, deep and important. Thank you.