As I've mentioned before, one of the duties that comes with our housesitting gig is to go through my parents mail and forward on the important stuff. One of the things I most look forward to about moving out is not having to do that anymore. They get a lot of mail and most of it is junk. However, every once in awhile, there are a few gems. Like the autographed George W. picture sent to my mom in thanks for her contributions to the Republican party. I had no choice but to immediately put it up on the refrigerator. Or the certificate of gratitude sent to my mom in honor of her contributions to the US Olympic Team. Also currently up on the refrigerator. I've learned some things about my parents by going through their mail and coming across these gems. Apparently my mom is a generous person, as evidenced by all of the mailings she receives in gratitude of her contributions. What I've learned about my dad by going through the mail is that he is, apparently, getting old. He receives marketing materials for assisted living places almost weekly. He gets AARP magazines and notices. However, my favorites would have to be the advertising materials for cremation services. Personally, I would think these mailings would be quite offensive. I mean, if you're getting information on cremation, then the company sending it must assume that you already have one foot in the grave. However, maybe as you get old you come to terms with the fact that maybe you do have one foot in the grave and then you appreciate the information on what to do with your body when you do, in fact, kick the bucket. So, maybe the real test of whether or not my dad is getting old is whether or not he is offended by these mailings.
Offensive or not, I do find the cremation information very entertaining. With such a sensitive subject, these companies waste no time in getting to the point.
"As difficult as it is, sometimes we owe it to ourselves and to those we love to face the truth. Dying is part of life."
"For a variety of reasons, more and more California residents are choosing to plan for a memorialized cremation over traditional funeral arrangement - and the numbers are increasing every year!"
Then, they have to convince you that burning your body up when you die is the way to go.
"Cremation just makes sense. Simple, Economical and Dignified...It just makes sense!"
"How do we acknowledge and respect the people we love and the planet that has served us so well in life? We offer basic cremation services because our clients are smart."
They tout the many benefits of cremation over traditional burial:
-It's less expensive
-There's less impact on the environment
-It's easier for your loved ones to deal with during such an emotionally vulnerable time
Then, of course, they include famous quotes to inspire you to plan for your death:
"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that's why they call it the present." -Eleanor Roosevelt
"Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning." -Winston Churchill
One of the companies even offered to enter my dad in a drawing for a pre-paid cremation if he simply requested more information.
Of course, one of my favorite parts was the disclaimer/apology at the end in the case that the mailing arrived in an untimely manner:
"This mailing is part of a general distribution - delivery to a home where illness exists is unintentional."
"Please accept our apologies if this letter has reached you at a time of serious illness or death in your family."
Yes, I am really looking forward to not having to sort through my parents' mail anymore. But, I'll definitely miss the rare gems that come through.