Alternatives to Traditional Burial

From mushroom suits to musical memorials, here are some non-traditional final resting places that honor in death what you valued in life

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Ross Hager

The days of a pine box being your only choice for a final sendoff are long gone. Now that pine box is one item on a list of many: maybe you prefer the traditional cowboy burial, as they call it, or maybe you’d rather be sent out on a blazing wooden raft like a Viking warrior. 

That’s one of the beautiful parts about death: you get to decide what happens to your physical self when you are no longer occupying it. And the possibilities in death are just as endless as they were in life. Want to become a diamond? Okay! Or would you rather be buried in a mushroom suit and turned into soil nutrients? Sign me up! Below are just a few post-life options of many, and a prime example of why you should have a plan in place; the person responsible for making your post-life decisions may not know what they don't know.  

  1. Green Burials. Traditional burials use coffins made of harmful toxins that leach into the soil as they decompose, damaging the plant life around your burial spot. Green Burials, on the other hand, not only eliminate waste but actually promote plant growth by turning you into healthy enzymes for soil. Choices include an organic cotton suit with mushroom spores sewn into the fabric or Coeio’s Infinity Burial Suit which helps to deliver nutrients from your body to surrounding plant roots more efficiently. And for every suit purchased, Coeio will plant two trees in your memory!
  2. Memorial Spaceflights. If you’d rather reach for the stars upon your exit you can do that too...literally. Celestis offers an infinite number of out-of-this-world options. The Earth Orbit service allows the user to remain in orbit before re-entering the atmosphere, much like a shooting star. If you’d prefer to stay in space, the Luna Service will place your remains on the actual moon so your final resting place can be viewed from anywhere on earth. Or maybe you never want to land: the Voyager Service will send you into deep space for infinity and beyond!
  3. Memorial Diamonds. There are also tons of options right here on earth. They say diamonds are forever and you can be too! Eterneva turns your remains into a memorial diamond by simulating the natural process using heat, pressure, time...and you! But unlike Mother Nature, Eterneva’s process won’t take three billion years. Depending on the size and color of the diamond you decide on, the journey from ashes to diamond takes between seven and ten months, but each month the Eterneva team will send you progress pictures and videos so you can be a part of the adventure!
  4. Eternal Reefs. Just because you're not a land lover doesn’t mean your remains can’t benefit nature. Eternal Reefs combine a cremation urn, ash scattering, and burial at sea into one by turning your remains into a living memorial at the bottom of the ocean. Your remains are mixed with marine-friendly concrete to mimic natural reefs that quickly become a home for all kinds of aquatic life. Family and friends can participate in the creation by helping to mix the concrete or personalizing the reef with handprints and written messages. There are currently over 1,800 Eternal Reefs up and down the East Coast.  
  5. Musical Memorials. If you’d rather your life be celebrated with a dance party, why not become the soundtrack of the celebration? And Vinyly offers the opportunity for your ashes to be pressed into a vinyl record that your loved ones can enjoy while listening to the songs that remind them of you most.. You can choose both the album artwork and the music to make it as unique as you are. Or you can simply record a personal message to friends and family that they can replay for years to come. 

Whether you decide to live on among the stars or the sea, become a healthy source for plant life, or you just want to keep on rockin’, your final resting place should reflect the kind of person you were in life: incredibly unique and very special.

Categories: Managing a Death, Funeral Planning, Planning Ahead, Eco Friendly

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