Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on April 17, 2024 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with no comments yet

Performing at a Death Cafe


“Wait awhile eternity,

Old mother nature’s got nothing on me.”

Christmas in Prison – John Prine

I have some grave concerns to share with you.

Several months ago, I attended a “death café” where a group of us talked openly and honestly about death. This was nothing new for me. During my many years as a financial planner, I routinely had discussions with my clients about the need to have an estate plan. I also urged them to have frank discussions with family members, especially if these people happened to be designated as Executors, Power of Attorney or Health Care representative.

I have never shied away from discussions about death. Many people think that death is something that happens to other people. I have news for these folks. And, having preached about estate planning for decades, I thought it was important that I “walk the talk”. If I didn’t put my words into action, showing that I meant what I said, then I would be a fraud. Of course, at seventy-two, I have stopped caring about what others think of me, with the possible exception of the young students who dispense ice cream at the Koala Kone!

On Good Friday (how apropos), I met with a family member to review my estate plan. I went over all of my documents, including my funeral wishes. It felt very liberating in an odd sort of way. As a society, we’re not great at facing the realities of death and dying.

The plot thickens.

Having decided to have a proper burial in a cemetery (I had considered the 19th hole at the golf course), I placed a call to the Chancery office to chat with the person in charge of cemetery plots. Before arranging a formal meeting, I wanted to know the costs involved. When she told me the price, I nearly dropped on the spot. Of course, never having had to make such an inquiry before, I really had no idea what to expect.

“The burial plot will cost $950. No tax.”

After I picked myself up off the floor, I seriously considered casting my ashes to the wind and the waves near our family homes in Bayfield.

But then, I got to thinking.

We all know that there is a housing crisis in Canada and affordable housing is a hot button item. Housing prices are astronomical, and the rental market is out of control as well. Many people bought homes at the peak of the market when interest rates were at an all-time low. With the recent spike in interest rates, many people are going to be in for a huge shock when their mortgages come up for renewal.

With these thoughts in mind, I started to think that a burial plot was a pretty good deal. My little piece of paradise was just south of a thousand dollars. I am very familiar with amortization tables.  An amortization schedule spells out exactly what you’ll be paying each month for your mortgage. It is not uncommon for a homeowner to be carrying a mortgage for 25 years or even longer. After some head scratching, I realized that the price of a burial plot was a steal when one considers that the amortization period is eternity! The cheapest real estate in the country.

The good news is that once interred, your rent will never go up and there’s no fear of eviction.

“Though they go mad they shall be sane. Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again. Though lovers be lost love shall not. And death shall have no dominion.” And Death Shall Have No Dominion. Dylan Thomas.

I took matters one step further and took a spin out to see the Arsenault boys at Arsenault Monuments in North Grant to inquire about a headstone. My initial reaction was that I will definitely be buried at sea. But, once again, on sober second thought, I realized that there are costs to living and costs to dying. Living is infinitely more expensive.

“Slip slidin’ away,

Slip slidin’ away,

You know the nearer your destination,

The more you’re slip slidin’ away.”

Slip Slidin’ Away – Paul Simon

Every story has a plot.

Every plot has a story!

Have a great weekend.

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