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A recent newsletter about high-pressure sales and high prices in the funeral industry in Canada prompted an e-mail from a reader that I want to share with you because it was so refreshingly forthright and helpful.

"It was distressing this morning reading about the experiences of people and funeral homes," this reader said. "We have just been through a very different experience which I would like to share with you."

Here's an edited summary of this reader's experience:

"My mother-in-law died in December. She was 83 and had metastatic cancer. We knew that she did not have long to live when she was admitted to hospital.

"We knew that she did not want a funeral or the involvement of a funeral home. She wanted a simple cremation and, ultimately, that her ashes would be scattered with the family gathered at our cottage in the summer. I contacted a simple cremation and burial service found through a web search. I completed forms and other paperwork in advance of my mother-in-law's death.

"When she died, the cremation and burial service took care of everything. My only contacts with them were by phone and e-mail and we were all extremely pleased with the services rendered. Our total bill was $1,573.35. That amount covered documentation, including 10 copies of the death certificate, collection of the body from the hospital, transfer to and from the crematorium, a cardboard container (which was my mother-in-law's wish), an urn, the crematorium fee and all taxes.

"We collected the urn and paperwork at a crematorium in Toronto a few days after the cremation. Again, we were treated with respect and dignity."

Thanks to this newsletter reader for sharing.

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