Death can be a morbid conversation topic, but since none of us are getting out of here alive, why not talk about it?
When it comes to life, I like interesting. I like quirky. I like helping others. I like learning, and I like things that make me think.
So why would I make after-death plans that follow the traditional route of burial? It just seems so… boring.
Luckily, there are few less traditional options to meet my fancy:
1. Save a life by donating organs and tissue to the living—First off, let me make it clear that organ and tissue donation is not nearly as atypical as it used to be (thank goodness!), and you can definitely donate and still have a traditional burial. Still, not everyone thinks of it. Right now, there are thousands of people dying as they wait for a new organ. If you’re already dead, why not save someone else’s life?
2. Save a life and/or educate the living by donating your body to science—There are a few options here. Do you want to donate your body for medical research? Or maybe have it preserved for display at a science exhibition like Body Worlds? Or what about having your skeleton used in a science classroom? As weird as these options might seem, I don’t think there’s anything more valuable than learning. Why not help researchers solve a medical problem or assist in the education of future generations?
3. Sparkle on by having your ashes turned into a diamond––Exactly what it says. Yes, this is a real option. Who doesn’t like to shine?
4. Reach for the stars by having your ashes sent to space—Yes, this one is also real, and again, exactly what it says. Granted, there are specific launch dates to follow, but it is still possible to make plans in advance!
5. Help out the environment by having your ashes become a coral reef––Love the ocean? Why not become a part of it? Have your ashes turned into a permanent environmental tribute to life that combines a cremation urn, ash scattering, and burial at sea. If you already planned on going six feet under, why not go under the deep blue sea and add something to a marine environment?
Aside from the obvious awesomeness of these alternatives, there is also the potential of saving your loved ones from a financial burden. With the average cost of a funeral in North America landing somewhere between $7000 and $10,000, there’s a high probability that the options above will cost less than if you have your body buried.
Plus, I don’t know about you, but I think there’s something unsettling about being buried six feet below ground. Maybe I’ve seen too many horror films (thanks, Ryan Reynolds), or maybe it’s just my personal discomfort with the thought of my body being dolled up to be forever hidden away in an overpriced box, but I don’t like the idea of traditional burial at all.
Of course, burial is a deeply personal choice. I can respect whatever anyone chooses to do for themselves after death, but what do you think of these ideas? Are they anything you would consider? I know I will!
Author: Stacey Johnston
Editor: Caroline Beaton