Death is expensive

It has certainly become cheaper to live than it is to die. How awkward is that? I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who recently lost her loved one. In the conversation we ended up discussing or she enlightened me how the most difficult and perhaps frustrating thing about death is the whole process between death and the funeral (burial) with all the ups and downs, the funeral covers who are reluctant to give you the deserved money. Well there is another conversation to be had, why is it always so easy to register for funeral covers but so difficult when money has to be distributed… You have to give all these documents all of a sudden….but that’s a blog for another day.

We are here to discuss why the hell is death so expensive. An average funeral probably costs about R10k – R50k that’s an average, I am even being nice it cost more than that. First there is

  1. Bus Hire
  2. Tent and Chairs
  3. Food and Drinks (Black people we really need to discuss this bullshit)
  4. The bloody coffin (why are coffins so expensive aren’t these made of natural wood?)
  5. I am sure there is a whole lot I have not mentioned

Now let me be honest, this is an average Black People funeral, my people invest more in death than they do in life. How are we so blinded? We are worried more about what will people think about the service and everything else in between that we don’t have time to grieve.

DAMN!! Kinda deep neh!

In realizing how expensive this death business is, I sat down with my mother and discussed death. This is a very unsettling conversation to have because you first need to accept the fact that one day one of you could die. I brought forward all these points to my mother who has forever been preparing for her death through various funeral covers which she kept stopping and starting,  basically losing all she had invested. Anyhow, I tell mom that “my lady, death is expensive’ she agreed.

So I bring the fact that I will cremate her “NGIZOKUSHISA MINA” this whole nonsense of having to get all these things and drag, and stress out everyone, I don’t see it. We will cremate you. She laughs at first then she surprisingly sees my point of view. she goes into details about how Black funerals are so unnecessary that she cannot believe black people compete using funerals it is disguising. She agrees, she doesn’t want us wasting all the finance that could potentially go to helping my siblings and nephews go to school and make a better living per se.

That’s the thing is it not, going to back to investing in death than we do life. Mother has put all her money, investing on the day she dies so we could live better. Yes, these are good measures but it’s fucked up. It’s fucked up that as black people we believe our death will put bread on the table for our kids. Damn!

The conversation  does not end there unfortunately, somehow on a random day this is discussed again, death business, a neighbor had passed away. Mom and her older sister are sitting reflecting on the service, so I bring up cremation again that ‘fuck all this funeral process, we are cremating mother” The older sister goes ballistic,  “over her dead body, she will not be part of that nonsense, that will never happen as long as she is alive.

Now there is an argument back and forth, the problem I had with this was that she had no points to back up her claim why she prefers a funeral. She kept saying tradition dictates a funeral should be had. Well no it does not… tradition does not really suggest a whole lot of finance that could be used for the year should go to a funeral process of one day. I can tell you the day did not end well, however I stuck to my point, it’s not necessary all  about funds. It’s about how meaning has dramatically changed in the black community when it comes to death. It’s no longer about a sense of loss and grieve for the lost loved one but it’s about competing, alcohol, dressing up, what kind of car came and coffin the family member was buried in, the food and most importantly the gossip.

It may be me trying to escape all that drama and nonsense but there is logic in my conclusive argument that mom should be cremated and I want the same to be done for me as well. Cremation allows only family and friends to be present, people who cared dearly. A conversation can be had with your urn sitting right there.

A friend of mine when I brought this up told me about a white funeral he was at where the deceased was cremated. He informed me how everyone brought wine, food and flowers for the service. Everybody gathered and conversations were had about the deceased and the day ended.

What does this do? This mentally strengthens the family members who are left behind, that there were people who cared and that their loss doesn’t have to be grieved but can be welcomed as something that happened and can happen to anyone, those who are left must live again. It is such a profound ideology that I still have to fight to instill in my own family members.

Mina I certainly don’t know what happened to my people, I think the issue is we have normalized idiotic things and have forgotten what is important.

As one famous poem stated “Death do not be proud”


If you have views or comment, please do write to me and share if this post peaked interest in you, maybe it might for others too.

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