Funeral PlanBy Thandi Mkhatshwa

Funeral Plan

By Thandi Mkhatshwa

Published on Fri, Sep 11 2009 by Thandi Mkhatshwa
South Africa---I’ve been begging my grandmother for over three years now to take out a funeral plan for the whole family, but she always ignored my pleading. People are dying everyday like there is no tomorrow in Acornhoek, and it scared the hell out of me that we didn’t have a funeral policy. But today I finally got my wish.

You see, ever since my mom passed away, I have been a little bit scared about who will cover the funeral expenses if anyone else in my family passes on. When my mom died we didn’t have a funeral plan, and if it weren’t for her employer who paid for the funeral cost we would have been in serious trouble.

I guess back then my family never really thought about taking out a funeral policy because we didn’t think that death would come knocking at our door so soon, but it did and we regret not to having done so.  Soon after we laid my mother at her final resting place, I became obsessed with idea of taking out a funeral policy.

I couldn’t get a funeral policy before because since I was unemployed, I couldn’t afford to pay the monthly premiums. Even now the little money I make through freelance writing and the Foster Care Grant I receive on behalf of my nine-year-old twin sister and brother is only enough to take care of my three siblings. That is why I always nagged my grandmother to do it since she receives the Old Age Grant.  Instead of agreeing to it, she refused and simply chose to spend all her money on alcohol.
It was really hard for me to see her drunk everyday, but I never gave up on asking her to take out a funeral plan.  My persistence finally paid off. Today I walked side by side with my grandmother for about 2.5 kilometers to town so she could finally take out the funeral policy for the whole family that ensures that if anything happen to any of us, we would be covered.

As my grandmother and I walked, we chatted about a lot of things, something we haven’t done in a long time because of her drinking habits.  I couldn’t believe it but for once we were actually getting along without fighting.  I felt really nice to have my old loving grandmother back.

Eventually our walk led us to one of the many burial society offices in Acornhoek called Two Mountains. One of the ladies who works there sat us down and explained to us the different funeral policies they offer and passed both of us a pamphlet which contained pictures of coffins and caskets.  As, the lady went on about the coffins and caskets; I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable.  Hearing her talk about coffins really made me realize that indeed, someone else in my family will die again.

Seeing those coffins in the pamphlet made me to remember some painful memories that I tried so hard to suppress everyday: The sight of my own mother in a coffin. I felt like crying. I could feel some tears building up in my eyes, but quickly snapped myself out of it by forcing myself to think happy thoughts.

Finally I heard the woman’s voice asking us which funeral plan we preferred and my grandmother and I agreed that plan B would be more suitable. It provides the family with groceries, chairs, a tent, a free mortuary, two family cars, and a casket. My grandmother signed the documents.  “Finally,” I thought to myself and forced a smile off my face. My grandmother and I got out of the office and went back home. I couldn’t help but be proud of her for finally taking the step to cover us all. 


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