Forget about cremation or even donating your body to science. These days, for client families who want to forgo the traditional burial route, there’s plenty of options that run the gamut from new age to space age. But don’t worry if you think that this means “death” for the funeral profession as we know it. With the recent solar eclipse, we thought we’d take a quick look at some of these alternatives. We have a feeling our survey of these trends may have you resting easy knowing that some traditions won’t go away quite so soon.
Funerary urns are nothing new; after all, they date as far back as 7000 BC. But imagine being able to carry your loved one’s ashes around your neck or dangling from your ears. Thanks to Spirit Pieces, that’s now a possibility. In addition to glass jewelry pendants and earrings that can contain the cremains from pets and people, the company also manufactures unique products to house your departed’s ashes, such as paperweights, memorial flames, garden orbs, necklaces, glass eggs and hummingbirds, touch stones, cat eyes, glass flowers and vases, ceramic urns, and more. Every item is handmade and the artists treat each memorial as a work of art in its own right. And if you just love the art and want to get it without cremains, you’re in luck, as the company offers that option, too.
For those seeking a more environmentally friendly end-of-life ritual, Bios Urn has created the world’s first biodegradable urn designed to convert you into a tree after your death. Billed by the company as “a catalyst for a life,” these urns are built with a special capsule that meet the needs of any type of plant and provide the perfect medium to allow for the proper growth of a tree when planted with the remains of a loved one. There’s no expiration date, and because the urns are made using a custom moulding system produced without the use of glues or chemical additives, the degradation of the product is respectful to the environment. As more and more people decide to go green, could this be the next wave of products that changes the funeral profession?
Ashes Fireworks Displays
On the other end of the spectrum is Heavenly Stars, who offer a variety of services for scattering the ashes of your loved one by incorporating their cremation ash into fireworks. Talk about going out in style. The company’s compassionate and caring staff promise to help you arrange all aspects of your special firework tribute and can even work with funeral homes to setup the display or process the return of the ashes. Heavenly Stars, who are based in the United Kingdom, have been operating since 2007. In that decade, they’ve become known for their range of spectacular self-fire fireworks and stringent safety standards. But whether this trend will catch on here in the States “remains” to be seen.
Finally, for the most intrepid of individuals, MesoLoft and Celestis provide the ultimate memorial experience: a chance to launch your loved one into space. If you’ve ever imagined yourself venturing out into the stars, look no further. These companies promise to send a symbolic portion of your cremated remains or DNA to the very edge of space — or even into the cosmos themselves. MesoLoft’s team of aerospace engineers send up your ashes in a custom balloon along with two high-definition video recorders to film the launch from start to finish. Once the remains reach 80,000 feet, they are released to be scattered and will take months to hit the ground.
Celestis goes one step further with voyages into space, complete with four different tiers of service. Their most affordable option lifts you just above the Earth’s atmosphere, or you can choose to orbit our planet for a few grand more. At their next level, you can join the ranks of Neil Armstrong and be placed on the surface of the moon. And for a true voyage into the great beyond, you can choose to be carried out into deep interstellar space. At $12,500 to start, these prices may be out of reach for most people, but it’s nice to know that your dreams of becoming an astronaut are still a possibility even after death.
While these alternatives to traditional funeral rites might make it appear that everyone is shooting for the stars (in more ways than one) when preparing for their final life passage, keep in mind that funeral homes are far from buried. In fact, as trends come and go, you’ll serve an increasingly vital role: shepherding families through the grieving and healing process after a loss. Any new technology you introduce should help strengthen the client-director relationship, like Everdays, which lets you empower your families to reach more of the people they need when they lose a loved one. To learn more about this free service, visit partners.everdays.com.
Photo courtesy of MesoLoft.