In the past, a good looking gravestone was the extent of funeral luxuries. But now, people’s tastes have changed as they seek alternatives to traditional burials. This has given rise to new businesses that promise to give your body the final goodbye in very unique ways.
Trees as gravestones
If you are an environmentalist interested in maintaining the sanctity of nature, a funeral near a tree seems like a good match. In the U.S., Better Place Forests offers you the option of mixing your remains with fertilizer and spreading them beneath a tree of your choosing. In addition, they will also plant a few trees in your name to help areas of Northern California affected by drought and fire. “Basically I just knew there had to be something better… We’re trying to redesign the entire end-of-life experience… You’re part of this forest, but you’re also part of creating this forest… People love that,” Sandy Gibson, the chief executive of Better Place, said to The New York Times.
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The company currently owns forests in Point Arena and Santa Cruz. It has plans to start operations in Seattle, Denver, and Portland very soon. Pricing would depend on the size and species of the tree along with the location. The smallest package starts at US$2,900 in Point Arena and US$6,400 in Santa Cruz. It comes with having your remains spread beneath a 70-inch tree, with 25 additional new trees planted. The priciest plan costs US$12,900 in Point Arena and US$16,800 in Santa Cruz where you can have the remains spread underneath a 150-inch rare tree. Plus, 400 new trees are planted in your name.
The ancient practice of mummification seems to be making a comeback of sorts. Summum has developed a method it calls “Modern Mummification” that combines the latest advances in medical technology with chemistry to preserve your body for a very long time. If you have been fantasizing about being mummified like ancient Egyptian rulers, then this is definitely for you.
And yes, Summum’s offerings come with a sarcophagus that it calls “Mummiform.” “Gifted artisans design each Mummiform to exact specifications. It incorporates a ‘life mask’ and can be adorned with the symbology of any religious or philosophical belief that you may hold. Everything is created in exact accordance with your wishes, as set forth in your pre-need arrangement,” according to the company website.
‘Buried’ in outer space
For those of you who are sci-fi fans, you now have the opportunity to have your remains shipped off-planet. Celestis Memorial Spaceflights is a company that provides this service at decent rates. Its lowest package is termed the “Earth Rise Service” and launches a symbolic portion of your DNA or cremated remains into space. After spending some time, the capsule returns back to Earth. The package starts at US$2,495.
The company’s most expensive offering is the “Voyager Service,” where a spacecraft containing your remains will be sent on a permanent celestial journey, taking it well beyond the Moon and further. The package starts at around US$12,500. This is perfect for people who have been dreaming of going for space exploration. Who knows, maybe an alien species might even find your capsule and recreate you from the DNA remains!