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Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Three Little Words

By Matty of Running on Empty

In 1997, at the age of 52, my second eldest brother passed away from lung cancer. It was totally unexpected. A year prior he had cancelled his life insurance policy - he thought he would live a long and healthy life. Unfortunately, none of us know our expiry date.

My brother had no savings, no insurance, no money put aside for a rainy day and no funeral arrangements pre-paid. He died intestate. I went with my older brother to make the funeral arrangements, and even though we picked the least expensive casket, the bill was close to $8,000. I signed the contract and we had his funeral. All my family came from all over Canada to attend. Most of us were in shock. How could this happen - he was only 52!

At the reception the family assured me that they would help me out financially. They would send me money here and there to help with the cost. Needless to say, that didn't happen.

Nobody was doing well financially in my family at the time. One brother was about to go bankrupt with his business, and everybody else was struggling to pay their mortgage, and keep the wolf from the door.

I had the care of the grandkids so money was mighty scarce, but when you sign a contract, you're expected to pay. Bob, the funeral director was a very nice guy. He understood the circumstances, so he agreed that I would pay him a few hundred here and there till I was caught up.

Well, it took three years to get the invoice paid. Every month I would go with 200 hundred dollars or 300 hundred, and some months I wasn't able to pay anything. Some months I'd pay a bit more! I got to know the director quite well. Each time I would go, we would talk of the latest gossip or tell each other jokes.

Finally I was down to the last $500 owing and the day I got the money together, I rushed down to see Bob at the Funeral Home. I caught him just as he was driving away and told him to hold on a second, I had to give him the last payment.

As he was making out the receipt in my name, I asked him, "What are the nicest three words in the English language"? He looked at me; his face went three shades of red and he whispered, "I love you!"

And I whispered back, "Well, thanks a lot, I appreciate that - don't tell your wife! But the three words are - PAID IN FULL!"

With that he laughed so hard - after all he is a married man!

This is just a warning to those who think they have plenty of time to get their papers in order or pick out a plot or pay for their funeral. You may not have the time you expect. The only thing you want to leave your loved one's are good memories, not huge debts.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Matty, this is a wonderful lesson for all of us. Thank you.


I certainly do admire you for taking care of that bill for your brother's funeral.
Can you imagine how many people would have made one or two payments then skipped out on the rest?
You are to be commended.......

Good advice. It's so hard to put aside $$ for after you're dead, when there's hardly enough to live on. I hate to think of my loved ones dealing with those expenses on top of everything.

My husband put a bullet in his head just over a month ago. He died intestate, also, and his insurance and retirement payments still listed his mother as the beneficiary, even though we had been married for 7 years.

It's a mess. I'm with Matty. Take care of business while you still can.

Wow, these are tough stories. I'm just helping my daughter make sure her husband has taken care of her and the kids in case of sickness or death..it is a terribly sensitive issue..thanks for letting me know it should be done..

Dorothy from grammology
call your grandma

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