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The Present
Photo: Lee O'dell
“Free Pre-Paid Cremation! Details inside.” These were the words on the outside of an envelope addressed to my husband, a cancer patient. While I don’t regularly open his mail, this time I made an exception. My blood pressure rose as I thought to myself, “Why would anyone do this to him?” So much for all those privacy forms we’ve filled out. 

I sliced the seal with my letter opener. The words in bold on the reply card really irked me: “WIN a pre-paid cremation”. The phrase was angled against the backdrop of a number of trees with a more prominent larger tree with many branches and green leaves featured in a solitary location in the foreground.

“Complete all of the reply slip information and you will be eligible for a drawing each month.”  Each month. I wasn’t sure he’d live another day much less long enough to have a chance to be a winner of pre-paid burial expenses. His name, our home address, complete with the extra four digits of the United States zip code, was already typed in on the reply slip. His phone number and e-mail address were all that was missing. A prepaid business reply mail envelope was conveniently included. A letter with the greeting in his name was of general interest to everyone but me that day! I was miffed at such brash marketing techniques. Why not pick on the well and leave the dying alone?


OK so there are a variety of reasons more and more people are choosing cremation over traditional funeral arrangements as the enclosed letter stated. Maybe it is fact that as Americans plan their final wishes and needs almost 30% have selected cremation as their preference over a traditional funeral. Maybe that form of burial did have less of an impact on the environment. My preference was that Jesus would come or that my husband would be healed before I’d needed to face that decision. That was my answer for improving the environment!

“Simple, Economical and Dignified” is the motto of this particular organization. My idea was simple, economical and dignified too. Be ready everyday for Jesus to come and pray without ceasing that His will be done on behalf of my husband.

Then I turned the reply card over and read a statement made by a woman sometime in between 1884 when she was born and 1962 when she died. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift: that’s why they call it the present.” Thanks, Eleanor Roosevelt. I needed that today. I need to live in the present everyday. I need to take one day at a time and thank God for each day I have to spend with the love of my life. I need to be in the present with Our Father who loves us more than we can possibly imagine.

I picked up the phone and had Doug’s name removed from the organization’s mailing list.

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Carole Kilcher. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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