- Death & Loss of Life
Funeral Plans -Choosing Cremation
Plan for Your Demise
While sitting in the doctor’s office with my husband for 4 hours the other day I started writing this hub. I mean 4 hours is ridiculous but that is another story. My husband and I were sitting around several months ago talking about how we would like to handle our deaths. I know this is not a cheery little topic, but it is important to make some decisions.
That way your children aren’t suddenly faced with making a multitude of decisions, while also trying to close out your affairs. Chances are we won’t both die at the same time, but there are no guarantees. Anyway, we have been to a few funerals lately and I had already decided I wanted to be cremated and my husband felt the same way. I want a Christian funeral that is a celebration of life.
I am not trying to influence anyone as to their personal decisions or sell any service in this hub. Every individual has to make their own decisions of course.
How We Made Our Decision
We have attended many open casket funerals for our families and friends, and I find them so emotionally difficult. I have also attended several memorial services where the person was cremated and they treat the funeral more as a celebration of their life. They usually have some nice flowers, great pictures of the individual throughout their life, and I have seen nice presentations on power point.
It is still sad to go to the service but it is more a celebration of the individual’s life which appeals to me. I think of Larry the Cable Guy with his country humor, standing over the casket saying, “Don’t Mama look good?” Of course, that was funny on TV, but I couldn't care less about how I look once I’m dead. I don’t like the idea of someone fixing my hair in some fashion I probably never wore, putting makeup on me to make me look more alive??? Yes, it is a dignified event and many people prefer that, which is fine but not for me.
The second reason is the cremation cost. I would rather leave money to my children and grandchildren, rather then spend $10 grand on a funeral. We spent $8,000 on my mother-in-laws funeral about 12 years ago, which was done exactly as she wanted. We were happy to fulfill her wishes and it was the way the family had always handled funerals, but we are ready to break the tradition.
So, we started checking on cremation programs and found that you need to do a little research, as they don’t all offer the same things, nor are they all the same price. Some of the ones offered in our area by funeral homes sounded like nice services but should you have the misfortune to die more than 25 miles from home it costs a fortune per mile to get you back home. We finally settled on a program from the Neptune Society which will bring you home from Timbuktu with no extra charge and there several other extras that were appealing to us. There will be minimal expense for our children or for one of us, as we have paid for this program.
A Bit of Humor
Books about Death and Grief
Neptune Society Book for Organization
One of the nice things that came with the material was a notebook,,and it is divided into several sections. There is a section for veterans telling of things like the burial flag, headstones and markers and so forth. Then they list all the government and other assistance you might need information on, such as social security, Medicare, hospice, etc.
What you choose for your final resting place if your business,and this article is not meant to push you into a particular choice. Differewnt religions have specific choices for buriial, and it is certainly your choice as to what you want as your final resting place.
The next section in the book is estate planning, and you could get a notebook to do this on your own.. It involves discussing your wishes with your family so,talk to them about probate, living trusts, and so forth. The sixth section has you list all your financial information such as banking, a safe deposit box, insurance policies, credit cards and other debts, any legal action that might be pending and your medical history, so the family has a record for the family. Often children might not know where you bank, if you have a safe deposit box, etc., so this is important information.
In the very last section there is an area where you can list significant events in your life, make a comment about people that influenced you, mention any honors or awards you received, or write special memories or messages to particular people. I thought this book was a great idea as it keeps your entire affair in one spot which will come in handy when you are grieving over the loss of a loved one.
Eternity -Ashes out to Sea
What to do with Your Ashes?
Of course, there is one more decision and that is what to do with the ashes. It is not my desire to have my ashes in an urn on some relative’s mantle or maybe in their closet. As my husband and I talked, he shared that he has always wanted his ashes strewn in the ocean.
Many people have their ashes scattered at sea, and I also found out that human ashes actually help rebuild coral which cinched the decision. You can make a ceremony out of the scattering or just a group of loved ones can fulfill your wishes. At this time the EPA requires the ashes to be strewn 3 miles out, and they can be left in a biodegradable urn if you wish.
As a veteran, my husband could have chosen a military burial. Ashes can still be put in a cemetery so you will have a marker. Since I study genealogy, this is a little appealing to me as I have tromped through many an old graveyard looked for long lost family members.
There are many state laws often prohibiting scattering human ashes, but, come on, there are no “scattering ashes police.” This linked website states it is a good idea to ask a person if you want to scatter the ashes on their property. That sounds like common sense to me. As for public land, I believe in the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” rule.”
Numerous Choices for Ashes
I have since learned that there are number of other things you can do with human ashes.
Urns have been the most popular way to keep ashes up until recently, and there is huge variety of urns to choose from. I put a link to one store at the bottom.
The US government has granted blanket approval to spread ashes in national forests and similar rules are becoming popular in state parks.
You can have a diamond made or use the ashes to make some jewelry, which can also be done for your pet’s ashes. So, one might say. “Who are you wearing this evening?” Obviously I find this a little distasteful but each to his own.
There are many men that want their ashes scattered on a golf course.Some women want their ashes in a rose garden
In the Bay area they are scattering cremated remains using fire works done by a San Diego company called Celebrate Life. That’s really going out with a bang! Apparently CA laws have been changed this year, as they had been the most stringent in the nation.
Go Out With a Bang!
Other Unique Ways to Dispose of Ashes
There is a lady who is co-owner of Creative Remains (located in San Francisco). She has a collection of more than a dozen wood, ceramic, and stone frogs and states her mother is in each one of them. They can adapt most anything to hold ashes using knickknacks to sporting equipment. The other co-owner is adapting a fishing rod to hold his ashes and plans to leave it to the best fisherman he knows so he can fish eternally,
There is a company in Seattle that places ashes in glass-blown paper weights.
There is a lady named Mona who uses the ashes in her paintings. Check the link below.
Use Your Imagination!
And Even More Ways
The UK Master Distributor for Celestis offers 4 spaceflight memorial options. You can have your ashes sent into space or into orbit for a modest $2495 fee. They advertise their service as suited for astronomers. Their interesting web page is listed at the bottom of the hub.
There is also a service that will send your ashes up in a balloon.
Last but not least, you can have your ashes with some keepsakes, but into a time capsule and placed on the ocean floor. I don’t see the purpose in that as you would probably have a new breed of deep sea grave robbers.
Outer Space for You
I believe it is a good idea to have some type of plan for your death for the sake of the loved ones you leave behind. Making some arrangements ahead of time whether burial or cremation is a good idea as costs are rising continually. Having you business affairs arranged in some way also makes it easier for those left behind. I wish you all a very long life.
Links of Human Ash Disposal
- Heavens Above Fireworks | memorial space flights
Fireworks displays modified to contain cremation ashes, pet cremation
- Ashes to Ashes Urn Keepsake and Jewelry Company
Voted the best site for our selection and attractively priced cremation urns, keepsakes and jewelry for people and pets
- Scattering Ashes - Burial At Sea - Cremation Service
Burial at sea, a funeral or cremation service of scattering ashes, the cremated remains at sea. The ashes are placed and released at sea. Charter boat and service, amenities included.
Some of my Other Hubs
- You Can Save a Life Performing CPR
The new CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is a wonderful life saving technique for sudden death and now much easier to accomplish than the using the older criteria. I taught CPR classes for many years,...
- Honey -Medicinal and Beauty Benefits - Part II
There are 20,000 types of bees in the world, so obviously I will list just a few of the more common and interesting types. Bumblebees are large, hairy, black and yellow, display social behavior and live...
- Honey Bee Colonies -Losing Bees -Part I
Photo courtesy of Wichipedia Honey bees are social insects that pollinate an estimated 1/3 of the human diet and the importance of the honey bee population is reflected in the fact that more has been written...
© 2010 Pamela Oglesby