My brother, Clifford, used to take care of everything. And when he passed it was a real shock. I wanted to just crawl into a hole and die myself.
I was the ill one, he was the fit one. I have epilepsy, a tumour on my spine and Parkinson’s, but he was always active– on the down days, when I had the curtains drawn and sat on the sofa, he was the one who sat beside me and he was the one who always talked me up. I didn’t know what to do when he left.
Visiting the funeral director was a truly horrible experience. They quoted me £8,000 and wanted £4,000 upfront as a deposit. They said that the day before the funeral they wanted £4,000 in their bank account. Down to Earth helped me find a funeral director that could arrange a burial for Clifford for £5,575.
They helped me apply for a Social Fund Funeral Payment from the government but this was only £1,900 so I have been left with very big debts that I’m now struggling to pay off.
Joe was my cousin. I loved him for who he was – a big puppy who couldn’t stop jumping about. He wasted away quickly and died in the hospital. He had cancer. They didn’t ring me in time and I missed the moment of his passing.
I had his housing association asking me to empty his flat, wanting money from his bank account – of which there was none.
I’m a pensioner and didn’t have any savings to pay for his funeral. I didn’t know how I was going to pay for him. I thought about him lying there cold and me getting nowhere. I didn’t know what to do until I phoned Fiona at Down to Earth.
I couldn’t afford the deposit for a funeral so Joe had to have a public health funeral organised by the hospital. When they told me the date of the funeral I cried in relief. It was nice. We were given a time and a place and there were plenty of people there.