Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

08 September, 2011

THE COST OF DYING CAN KILL A PERSON

I do not want to come across as being morbid, but I have been thinking about the "high cost" of dying  today as opposed to 80-100 years ago.  When you reach a certain age, you tend to reflect on these things, you know.  Seems to go with the territory.

*Click to enlarge image
I was looking last night at a "Deed" to a family burial plot in the Dresden Cemetery purchased by my Grandfather Wesley Wright on the 30th of February, 1896, and was astounded to see that the cost of the 108-square foot (8x16) piece of terra firma was a whopping $8.00.  That works out to about $1.33 for each of the allowable six interment spaces in the "family" plot.  Wesley's second wife Annie was the first to be buried there in 1892 (prior to his buying up of the full lot a few years later), followed by Wes himself in 1920, then my grandmother Louise (the third wife of Wes) in 1932 and eventually my father (1952) and mother (1995), leaving one more spot for guess who?  Trust me, I'm not dying to get there any time soon, if you get my drift!

Today the cost of a mere double-use plot (one on top of the other) is conservatively in the neighborhood of $2,000.  Of course location and size can push that cost up considerably -- by as much as an additional $2,000 or $3,000, even more in some exclusive cemeteries.

The cost of funerals too has risen unbelievably in the last 80 years.  Would you believe that funeral expenses for my grandmother Louise (Wright) who passed away in February of 1933 added up to $248.65, payable to the Harvey Holmes Funeral Home in Dresden.  (It is nothing for funeral expenses today to exceed $10,000.)  In a statement of estate disbursements filed with the Surrogate Court of Kent County by the law firm Carscallen & Carscallen in April, 1933, final medical fees for my grandmother were listed at $2.50, Surrogate fees $44.50, Notice to Creditors in the Dresden Times newspaper $6.72 and "goods supplied for burial" by Robert Aikin Company $3.36.

It is interesting to note that in a cover letter to my beneficiary father, Kenneth, Carscallen & Carscallen stated that "The payment of funeral expenses, doctor's bill, newspaper ad, and fees payable to the Court, exhausted all the cash in the banks.  A small account with The Robert Aiken Company will be paid when bank coupons mature March 1st, allowing us to proceed."

I guess that comparing the cost of anything from one period in time to another is an exercise in relativity but, boy, it can be eye-openly shocking nonetheless.

Dying has always cost us -- in more ways than one!  And it doesn't get any cheaper with the passage of time.  If there is one consolation in all of this, it can be found in the old saying: "You can't take it with you anyway!"

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