Alternative Funeral Ideas

fireworks funeral

Despite how much we try to deny it, one of life’s certainties is that we’re all going to die someday. We might not know exactly when, but we will expire eventually, and plans will have to be made for our final check out. Wouldn’t you like to have a say in decisions about your funeral arrangements?

Burial or cremation used to be the two basic options for an ultimate send off. There might have been some variations in the casket, headstone, urn or service offerings, but in general, it was standard fare often rooted in religious traditions. Nowadays, there are plenty of other options to consider.

From the creative to the eco-friendly to the outlandish, here are some of the alternative funeral and body processing ideas out there today. Which ones would you consider?

Tree Planting
Having your remains placed in soil with a seed from which to grow a tree is becoming a popular eco-friendly funeral ritual. Your ashes don’t affect the tree’s DNA, and a positive life force grows out of your passing. There’s a “circle of life” poetics to it. Friends and family can gather around your tree for years to come, which seems like a happier place than a sombre cemetery headstone. Check out Living Urn for details.

Cryonics
This is the plot of many a cheesy Sci-Fi movie, but it’s actually becoming a real option. Cryogenic freezing is the method of freezing a body without damaging tissue. By preserving and storing the body this way, it is believed that you could one day be revived through advances in technology. The Cryonics Institute is one company offering this service.

Space Burial
If you’re looking for a funeral that’s out of this world, and money is no object, consider a memorial space flight. A company called Celestis offers various packages to launch ashes or full remains into orbit, around the moon or to outer space. Although this isn’t the most eco-friendly way to go, it is a compelling way to get to the heavens.

Burial at Sea
Burials at sea are a time-honored maritime tradition where the deceased is wrapped in a cloth and thrown overboard into the ocean, body intact. Alternatively, you might go for a sprinkling of the ashes off a sunset cruise. Many sailors opt for this kind of sendoff, but laypeople can make seafaring arrangements like this as well. Depending on your location, there may be licenses and permits to secure, so don’t think you can just take a row boat onto the high seas and plop your loved one off the side. A company like Ashes on the Sea can help you.

Eternal Reef
Keeping on the aquatic theme, you might consider having your remains made into a concrete orb that is submerged into an artificial reef. Fish and other marine organisms will swim around you in an eternal undersea habitat. You can feel good about your legacy being part of a reef restoration effort. Check out Eternal Reefs for details.

Memorial Jewelry
Having remains made into an attractive wearable keepsake is becoming a popular option these days. There are no shortages of companies on the internet, especially with the artisans on Etsy, who can turn your loved ones ashes – including a beloved pet – into a memorial diamond, remembrance necklace or legacy pendant. It’s one way to keep them close to your heart.

Firework Funeral
Talk about going out with a bang. There are ways to arrange for your ashes to be mixed into a pyrotechnical display, so you can be launched skyward to the ooohs and ahhhs of your audience. Heavenly Stars Fireworks is one company that can help you ignite this idea into reality.

Rest in Vinyl
Yes, you can even have your remains pressed into a vinyl disc so your legacy can live in your favorite songs. Apparently you only need a teaspoon of ash per disc. A company called And Vinyly can provide this quirky service. Their slogan is “Live on from beyond the groove!”

Body Donation
Perhaps the most practical and meaningful thing you can do with your body once you die is to leave it to science. Organ and tissue donation is in demand, as is the need for cadavers to train future doctors. It can make one a bit squeamish to think about, but no more than burial or cremation. Once your soul has departed, why not let your body contribute to the lives of others or to medical advancements. Check out OrganDonar.gov or contact a local medical school to make arrangements.

Unusual Venues

Many people today are forgoing stuffy sorrow-filled religious services for unusual venues more suited to the deceased person’s legacy. For example, why not have a celebration of life in a barn, a pub, in the woods, at a sports game, at a concert, in the garden, on the beach, with a picnic – anything that resonates with the life force that has passed. Friends and family can wear bright colors, share stories, sing songs, eat foods and drink beverages in a joyous yet sentimental ceremony. Tears may be shed at times, but it might just make for a more fitting sendoff.

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