The cost of dying is as high as the cost of living

Guam has the highest funeral cost in the United States

Death is an occasion for grief and on Guam, it’s a social occasion for Chamorro families and clans to gather and pray the rosary for the repose of the spirit of the deceased loved one. Relatives take turns cooking for the ceremony, the mayor lends a canopy and chairs for the mourners.

But in the atmosphere of grief, there is something more tangible and more uncertain hovering in the hearts of mourners. How can they pay for it all? And what exactly is it that they’re paying for?

“It all depends on what people want and expect and the social aspect of funeral is expensive. Funeral and social occasions and like weddings you can go all out or get hitched in Vegas. What people expect or consider traditional has a price,” said Adrian Cruz, of The Arimathea Society, a local nonprofit organization.

The cost of traditional funeral could reach up to $15,000 or more—which is well above the national average of between $8,000 and $10,000.