It’s hardly anyone’s favorite topic. But with those modern medical miracles, the future spreads out before you. Elderly is the new midlife. Still, baby boomers should keep pace with hippest pop culture trends in the afterlife.
Cremation is not a fad. Almost half of all Americans say they will go that route. In the 1970s, the number making the choice was in single digits.
It helped when the Catholic Church gave its blessing to the procedure in 1997.
Costs are offered as the most compelling reason to opt for cremation. A burning and simple scattering or take home are as little as 1/10 of a traditional burial.
Here are some exciting and innovative ways baby boomers can use their ashes.
~ Live locally. Die Globally. Celestis launches your remains into space, just like Timothy Leary and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. For a reasonable $695, a “symbolic part” of yourself can shoot to the stars. For an additional fee, you can stay in orbit for decades before re-entering Earth’s atmosphere in flames.
~ Not as dramatic, but more affordable, Eternal Ascent will place ashes in a helium balloon and gently loft it to the heavens. At a certain altitude the balloon shatters, seeding the clouds with your remains.
~ Go out with a bang. Celebrate Life will disperse you in a personalized fireworks display. You can choose a range of explosive style.
“Gentle” “Grand Finale”
~ Hold Me Urns makes huggable Teddy Bears or other stuffed animals that contain loved one’s ashes.
~ Days of our Demise. The Hour Glass Keepsake Urn substitutes your ashes for sand.
Live Green. Leave Green.
~ High Sierra Gardens is one of many services that offer scatterings “among majestic peaks, serene forests and clear cascading creeks.” FYI: Most government parks forbid dispersal, but operate on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
~ Placement in damaged coral reefs aids restoration. Or use a Green Cemetery, touted as “a powerful new tool for protecting endangered habitat.”
For those with an artistic bent, there are unique expressions:
~ Sparkle in the afterlife. LifeGem will create a certified quality diamond from the carbon of your loved one.
~ Memory Glass. For $150, ashes are infused into hand blown glass keepsakes for shelf or neck.
~ Got You Under My Skin. Combine your loved one’s ashes with ink for a wearable memorial.
~ Ashes to Portraits will paint an oil of the deceased with her remains mixed in the pigment.
~ Write on. Artist Nadine Jarvis can make about 240 pencils from the leftover carbon. A sharpener drops the shavings into a box, which becomes an urn.
~ A record of your life. Living Record mashes your ashes into a vinyl disc that plays your favorite song.
A warning: For years, people have surreptitiously and illegally scattered remains at Disneyland. All the popular spots are under surveillance by authorities. Stay away from Haunted Mansion, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
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