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Cremation: One Man's Urn Alternatives

Updated on January 14, 2013
A Look at Better "Digs" for Your Ashes.
A Look at Better "Digs" for Your Ashes.

What's A Grecian Urn?

Ok, now that we got that joke out of the way, lets get serious. Serious as a heart attack. Or, at least as serious as one can be when discussing the alternatives to an urn for my ashes when l kick the proverbial can. I've been thinking that cremation might be the way I want to go out. Ashes to ashes and all that. I don't want to go the genie in a bottle on the mantle route. My creative side just won't go in for the afterlife equivalent of an office cubicle. No, I'm going to hang around in style. Make a statement. Get a few compliments, turn a few heads (maybe some stomachs as well),

But, l have a big favor to ask of you, the reader. After reading my ideas, and pondering them over a glass of you favorite adult beverage or flavored tea, please take my poll to help me decide my urn alternative after-lifestyle. I thank you in advance for your time and please do not send flowers. Instead make a donation to the Director of International Relations and Treaties for the Necroptic Arts and Policies (DIRTNAP).

Painting With Love(d ones)
Painting With Love(d ones)

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words.

Proposal #1: Mix my ashes with some acrylic or oil paints. Make sure I'm mixed in with a number of different shades and hues. Hire an artist to paint a picture to my survivors liking. Make it something creative. Make it something that says, "That, is so Mitch". This can be hung with great care and pride in a respectable place within my loved one's home. Perhaps, it could also be printed on some Hanes 50/50 t-shirts and l could still do some vicarious traveling with friends and family.

Like an Urn with a View
Like an Urn with a View

Ogres and Onions have Layers... Why Not Me.

Proposal #2: Now, granted, this one treads close to urn territory, but I think it deviates enough to not fall into the above mentioned "cubicle" scenario. Take a clear, but shapely bottle, some colored sand and my ashes. Make sure there least 3-5 different colors, of sand. Then layer the colored sand and ashes in an alternating pattern. Be sure to fill it all the way to the top I well packed capped tight. This will help ensure that my new layered look will be well preserved. Then, I can be placed in a curio cabinet, a coffee table or...yes...a mantle.

Giving the Royal Treatment
Giving the Royal Treatment

Treat Me like a King.

Proposal #3: Mix my ashes with some clay or resin and design a unique chess set. I have always liked a good game of chess and this would allow me to always, regardless of the outcome of each game, be on the winning side. Maybe some family disputes could be decided over a game of chess. I'd "live" out my days on the 8×8 sub-divided parcel of a royal battleground. Check... and Mate.

At One with Nature...
At One with Nature...

This One's for the Birds.

Proposal # 4:Mix my ashes into a mixture of concrete and pour me into a mold to create a nice pedestal birdbath. Find me a peaceful home among the flowers and the garden gnomes. Allow me to quench the thirst of our feathered friends. Please be sure to wash me regularly as the birds...well... have a tendency You know, on second thought, make me into the garden gnome instead. Then I'll never roam alone.

Deciding My Destiny.

How should my ashes be utilized to avoid post mortem boredom?

See results


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    • Mitch Alan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mitch Alan 

      5 years ago from South Jersey

      Lady, thanks for reading...exactly the emotions I was hoping to tap into.

    • Lady Summerset profile image

      Lady Summerset 

      5 years ago from Willingboro, New Jersey

      This was SO refreshing! It was reading this on my lunch break at my desk and boy it brought a huge smile to my heart! I love the painting idea. This is only limited by one's idea! Mixed in the paints and painted onto canvas with thoughts of what you loved and did (well, not everything you did! LOL) and passed down through generations! I loved the chess idea, too! Awesome!

    • Mitch Alan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mitch Alan 

      5 years ago from South Jersey

      Adrienne and Rebecca, thanks for reading...

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Amusing, and very, very thought provoking. I think I want to be in the sand art.

    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 

      5 years ago from Atlanta

      wow...and double about going out in a creative fashion. I love your idea. Very interesting hub, my favorites are the painting, and mixing you in with cement. Very cool.

    • Mitch Alan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mitch Alan 

      5 years ago from South Jersey

      Dolores, Maybe with a thick layer of "me" it would work...haha...

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Well the layered sand may not work because cremains are not like sand at all but much more coarse. And the idea of keeping one sitting around is not good because if everyone did it, imagine all the jugs of all the relatives. Put me in a bag (linen would work) and dump me in the ocean, by the beach.

    • Mitch Alan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mitch Alan 

      5 years ago from South Jersey

      Kate, That would be interesting to be a fly on the wall.

      LongTimeMother, Thanks for reading and sharing...hope you enjoy more of my Hubs in the future...

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      5 years ago from Australia

      Choose the right artist and you might become very valuable and travel the world visiting art galleries. (I wonder how many generations it would take before someone would auction you off.) lol.

      This is great food for thought, Mitch. Voted up and sharing so we can all ponder our future. :)

    • Kate Riehl Spada profile image

      Kate Riehl Spada 

      5 years ago

      As someone who has a Dad sitting in an Urn, I think I like your alternatives much better. I would love to be hanging on someone's wall and have people walk past having no idea that the work of art is really me. Upon learning that they are staring at my ashes, what would they be thinking? Would they stand there and ponder their own mortality? Or would they think "wow that's interesting" and move on.... Or would they talk to me and say the things they never said but wish they could have. I would love to be able to see how they would react.

    • Mitch Alan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mitch Alan 

      6 years ago from South Jersey

      Express10, thanks for reading. Glad you enjoyed my "outside the box" thinking.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 

      6 years ago from East Coast

      Until reading this hub, the most creative I'd heard of was pouring ashes into a biodegradable cup filled with growing medium and seed for a tree. Then you would be reborn in a sense. These are very useful and creative ideas that would appeal to a wide number of people. I really like the sand art idea and being part of a painting.

    • Mitch Alan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mitch Alan 

      6 years ago from South Jersey

      Thanks for reading...more to come...all styles and topics.

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 

      6 years ago from uk

      Like your style! I voted for the birdbath, but have just realised you may be pooped on. Sorry.

    • Mitch Alan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mitch Alan 

      6 years ago from South Jersey

      KA, Thank you...

    • KA Pederson profile image

      Kim Anne 

      6 years ago from Texas

      talk about sacred chess pieces.... wow..... :-O

      Voted up for .... Interesting!

    • Mitch Alan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mitch Alan 

      6 years ago from South Jersey

      Thank you JayeWisdom for reading, commenting and voting. I write on a number of different topics and in various genres, many of which are more serious, so I like to lighten it up when I can.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      6 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Interesting alternatives plus quite a few chuckles. When you can laugh about a topic many people find morbid, I say you've got humor with a capital "H."

      The artistic possibilities might be a tad too "textured" for some tastes, so I opted for the birdbath (or garden gnome) in the poll. The "final" choice, of course, is yours.

      Voted Up , FUNNY and interesting!



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