Saturday, October 16, 2010

Renee's Funeral Post

From kj: Renee's Book of Love is starting to take shape. It will include our love letters AND many of Renee's posts, her family's favorites, and art & illustrations she loved or were gifts to her from her many blog friends.
I am going to include some of Renee's posts here so I can keep track of the ones that should be included in her book and keep them safely stored through the courtesy of Blogger.
I wonder how many of us have gone back to read Renee speaking as Renee? I find it so bittersweet. I haven't yet been able to reread her comments to myself and others, but I know when I do I will hear her voice and feel her presence as if she is right here right now.
from Renee: Nathan is watching me climb out of a town car limousine at 1:00 on a Friday afternoon. He says ‘Who the heck dropped you off Mom?’ I tell him Lynette from Desjardins (the funeral home). He laughs and says ‘Oh God.’

Anyway, Friday afternoon I spent at Desjardins Funeral Home. I am always fine-tuning my funeral arrangements so that it will be less work for my family when the time comes.

This is my third time going as I went in May last year. I plan on making this an annual event just to fine-tune and also to get use to the place. The first year I went I felt choked, the second year it felt more like business and this year it felt like I was just renegotiating what I want in my living room with an interior decorator.

Although it is Nadalene who originally wanted me to set up my funeral, I really feel now that everyone should do it and honestly it is just something that needs to be done.

The funny thing is that the more I go and the more I know, the more I realize I can more or less do what I want. I also feel that at the time of my death Lynette will see me as a person not just a body.

I will share with you what went down this year.

Lynette and I go over all the details of what I want and switch up a few little things here and there. I tell her that I have bought a cemetery plot at St. Boniface Catholic Cemetery on Archibald and give her all the details. Tell her that I have also prepaid for the opening and closing of the plot.

We talk a little more about the urns and I tell her I want to check out the new ones they have this year as I am looking more for a box type.

We go down to the casket room again and I honestly don’t know why they have the caskets so crowded in that room. They are jam-packed with their quilted lining that gives me the creeps. I ask her if they have samples of the cardboard box that I want for cremation and she says no, just the wooden one for $740. The one I want is $15 and she tells me that it just is really a long cardboard box that looks similar to what a fridge would come in. I ask her if it has Kenmore stamped on the side and we both laugh.

The first year I thought I would want a niche in the wall and was told I couldn’t have a wooden urn because they dissolve and the cemetery doesn’t allow that. Last year I thought I would want a bio-degradable urn, but this year I decided against the bio-degradable as it looks like a white cotton cardboard box that you would take leftovers in from a restaurant and I don’t want that sitting in the church. It looks cheap when really it is more expensive than the wooden urns. I did like one wooden urn but am thinking I want to talk to the cemetery place and see if I just can’t have a nice wooden box that isn’t $500. I prefer what Karin made for her companion Zach.

I really like the idea of dust to dust; ashes to ashes.

I am only there for about an hour.

Costs of a funeral:

Arrangements: $840 (2007); $940 (2008 and 2009)

Transfer of body from hospital: $215 (2007); $265 (2008 and 2009)

Staff (four people): $495 (2007, 2008, and 2009)

Preparation for identification: $220 (2007 and 2008); $395 (2009). I ask why such a big hike and the answer was so lame that I don’t even remember it.

Basic facility: $295 (2007); $195 (2008 and 2009)

Cremation fee: $460 (2007); $485 (2008); $495 (2009)

Lead car (for priest, flowers, urn, etc): $125 (2007, 2008, 2009)

Limousine for family: $225 (2007, 2008, 2009)

Casket for cremation: $760 pressed board (2007); $15 for cardboard (2008 and 2009)

Urn: $760 for pewter (2007); $435 for bio-degradable (2008); $415 for wooden urn (2009)

*Memorial cards: $1.75 per card (2007 and 2008); $2.00 per card (2009) $600

Guest book, 50 thank you cards, and crucifix: $195 now no longer want from Desjardins and will buy on our own.

Luncheon sandwiches: $10 per person ($3,000) now no longer want from Desjardins, Mickey will get from that place in Steinbach.

Luncheon tea and coffee: $1.50 per person then $1.75 per person ($425) now no longer want from Desjardins, Mickey will get from that place in Steinbach.

Two hostesses: $250 now no longer want from Desjardins, Mickey will get from that place in Steinbach.

*Based on 300 people.

The funeral based on around 300 people attending would be about $4,165. Not including taxes, church costs, priest, death certificates, food and catering, other papers needed or cemetery costs.

After the meeting I ask Lynette to use the phone and she asks me if I am phoning to be picked up. When I tell her yes, she tells me she is going right by my place and can drop me off.

Just before exiting she tells me how great it is to see me again and how she is happy when she sees me. I tell her that I like to see her too, but hopefully if I see her before next year it will be socially and not business.

Some things I still know for sure:

Do not want to die at home.
Cremation cardboard box of $15 (do not upgrade this).
No public viewing.
Full Catholic Mass at Holy Family Church (incense and holy water).

I wrote this a week before Sheldon died; little did I know that I would be seeing Lynette again nine days later with Ben and Jennifer.

Monday, October 4, 2010

From Ribbon (Robyn)

Renee had the wonderful ability to make you laugh and cry all in the same moment.
I found her wisdom and wit irresistible. I don't believe that you could meet Renee and not love her.
I had no knowledge of the depth of relationships possible via a blog prior to meeting Renee's community. Renee offered the trust and kindness found in true friendships to everyone she met, which was admirable and pioneered the way for many friendships to come.
I miss Renee, and I will never forget her.
much love