A jade burial suit? Are you crazy?

The day after my paternal grandmother died, I went to a funeral home with my uncles Jim and Paul to pick out a casket.

The director of the funeral home met us at the entrance and said he was sorry for our loss. We followed him to a brightly lit room, where around a half-dozen caskets were on display.

“This is one of our basic models,” the funeral director said, pointing to a casket with an oak finish. If we wanted to go with something “a little more expensive,” he suggested a coffin with a shiny white exterior that resembled marble.

Not even the most basic casket seemed appropriate for my grandmother. Aesthetically speaking, she was a woman of simple tastes.

“$2,000 for a casket? Are you crazy?” I could imagine her saying. “Bury me in a cardboard box, and use the money to buy Jimmy a new coat for winter!” Continue reading