Amy's Reviews > Grave Expectations: Planning the End Like There's No Tomorrow

Grave Expectations by Sue Bailey
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's review
Mar 12, 09

bookshelves: nonfiction
Read in March, 2009

I want to steal this book, but won't because it goes against everything I stand for. But, I'm seriously considering purchasing a copy. I have friends and relatives that I would like to give this book to to help them plan.

This book can sometimes be hilariously funny for those of us were raised in the biz (funeral business) or worked in and around this service.

Some interesting tidbits:

Countries with the highest life expectancy (2007): The US doesn't even make the top 10! At 78 years, we're ranked 45th.

This book allows you to "fill in the blanks" to plan your obituary, viewing, etc. Some interesting questions to ponder: Do you want to have a visitation/viewing? If so, do you mind people seeing your body? (aka open or closed casket -- honestly, get your mind(s) out of the gutter!)

Do you want to wear make-up? Has your mother worn the same color lipstick since time began? If so, what's the color and what brand is it?

What do you want to wear? Many people want to, or feel they have to, wear their best dress-up clothes when they're "on display" -- for instance the suit you bought for all those funerals you had to attend (LOL!) -- Don't you just love the irony? Anyways, the authors recommend wearing something that is representative of your daily life or your personality ... your favorite shirt, your favorite school or sport's team's uniform or regalia, your secret crown, a professional uniform ... if you were a closet cross dresser, perhaps now's the time to come out! Whatever, just remember, you're going to be in these clothes for eternity (unless you're being cremated); you're going to want to dress comfortably!

Are you planning for a traditional burial? What kind of casket do you want? How much do you want to spend on a casket? Do you want to buy the casket in advance (the layaway plan)? Buyer Beware: If you want to buy the casket in advance, many casket companies go out of business and might not be there when you're "ready." So you may want to take it home with you or store it somewhere. Just think of it as a giant storage box until you need it.

"Sweeping Up the Ashes" gives suggestions for what to do with the ashes after you've been cremated. Little bags of ashes will fit in your purse or pocket, wallet, golf bag, glove compartment, etc.
If these aren't to your liking, there are some other perhaps more suitable locations described in the book.

What do you want done with your ashes? How about Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Diamond? or "paint by embers"? or would you like to be a pencil?

Perhaps you'd still like to have a final resting place (for your ashes)? Have you considered outer space or burial at sea?

About 3/4 of the way through the book, the authors begin to talk about the actual service (speakers, locations, music, prayers ...), but first, the following all important questions are asked:

Do you even want a service?
If you don't really want one and your family and friends do, would you be agreeable? No matter what you say, they may do one anyway, so why not give them some suggestions?
If you want a service, do you want to contribute financially to the planning? (You don't need to feel obligated or guilty about this -- you'll be dead.)

Next, is the rehearsal dinner -- you really can attend your own funeral, sort of! I think this is the best -- why wait till your dead? Let's have a celebration of life!

At the end are chapters on having a wake or "after-party" and donating your organs -- not at the same event!

Fantastic read and lots and lots of detailed information that will make even a novice feel like a pro when this task is completed!


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