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December 18, 2017 Brigitte Ganger

Space Travel, Living Urns and Beyond: Modern Alternatives to the Traditional Burial

Finding the perfect final resting destination

Space Travel, Living Urns and Beyond: Modern Alternatives to the Traditional Burial
There are many creative alternatives to urns and traditional burial. Explore all the options, and find out what final resting destination is right for you or your loved one. (Shutterstock)

In recent years, burial trends have become less formal. Where families used to insist upon a full burial, complete with interment, ceremonial prayer and a funeral procession, folks are now often opting for cremation, green burials and other ways of honoring the dead. 

A lasting legacy

Although full traditional funerals are still an essential part of modern mourning, many families are seeing more value in saving available burial funds for ongoing memorialization of their loved ones. Establishing a scholarship in honor of a deceased person, or donating to a charity they supported, can be a rewarding way to honor a deceased loved one's legacy in a lasting way. 

The appeal of a trust or public monument in honor of a deceased loved one is a way to ensure they are remembered as time marches forward. This type of tribute can be a healing way to confront grief as well. People find comfort in knowing the death improved lives, supported good causes, or inspired others. Even after death, their legacy can make an impact on the world for good. 

Explore life, not death 

More and more, people are realizing that the traditional funeral does not reflect the life lived by modern people in a modern world. Funerals do not have to be somber, formal, religious affairs. Guests do not have to pretend that deceased people were nothing but angelic in life. Though funerals are a time to remember the best of a person, there is no need to ignore their complex relationships, flaws and mistakes of their past. We all have them, and death doesn't strip away those unique, and often quirky, traits.

Modern funerals take the focus away from the pain of death, and instead celebrate the life of the person. It can be difficult to see your loved one's achievements, likes, dislikes, and personality reflected in a stiff, formal funeral. 

This departure from rigid funeral practices is never more apparent than when attending the funeral of a young person. Mourning those whose time came too soon is often the most tragic grief. However, a more light-hearted, contemporary take on the funeral service might be more fitting for someone who lived every youthful moment to the fullest. 

Look beyond a burial

While in some religions, it is necessary to bury the dead, and arrangements for the remains should be made with great consideration for the deceased person's religion and final wishes, increasingly, families are opting for cremation.

Cremation is an affordable, and more eco-friendly, alternative to a cemetery burial. Once cremated, the cremains (or ashes) can be spread or kept in an urn. 

The future of cremains

There are many creative things that can be done with cremains. Here are five interesting destinations for cremains that are likely to leave you feeling inspired. 

1. Plant them in a tree

Companies like The Living Urn can help you turn your loved one's cremains into a living tree. Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of keeping an urn at home uncomfortable. If this sounds like you, a living urn might be a more natural option for your or your loved one's cremains. A tree continues to give oxygen to organisms on the planet. It can also be planted in an outdoor space that is accessible for visiting. This type of tombstone is more lighthearted and organic for memorializing a life. 

Green funerals are a rising trend in the funeral industry. Planting a tree along with cremains is a way of letting your loved one live on. (Shutterstock)

Green funerals are a rising trend in the funeral industry. Burials with coffins can be harmful to the environment. In recent years, people have realized the toll that burying our dead takes on the planet. If you have strong feelings for environmentalism, consider a living urn as an alternative to traditional burial. 

2. Blast them into space

If you'd rather not keep your or your loved one's remains around, but want to memorialize them in an interesting and memorable way, consider launching their cremains into space. We are, after all, physically composed of stardust. Many families find the idea of returning to the galaxy as stardust again to be a fitting final destination. 

Send cremains on a trip across space, or for an orbit voyage, before being scattered across the heavens. (Shutterstock)

Elysium Space will send you into orbit, starting at $2,490. Celestis is another company that will take a memorial flight through space to scatter ashes across the heavens. These providers have multiple packages available, but there can be a wait, depending on their launch schedules. Choose between an earth orbit, moon destination, or on a voyager mission, for your or your loved one's final resting place—in space. 

3. Turn them into a diamond

Did you know you can have your loved one's cremains turned into an exquisite, synthetic diamond? When you create a memorial diamond, you ensure your loved one shines bright and stays with you while you grieve. The person you miss can stay close as a ring or pendant, or you can keep them as a memorial diamond. Those who have lost a spouse often find comfort in incorporating a memorial diamond into their wedding ring.  

There are several companies that specialize in turning cremains into stunning synthetic diamonds. (Shutterstock)

Companies like Heart in Diamond will guide you through the process of creating a memorial diamond. Click here to see how the diamond-making process works. 

4. Create a custom urn

There are countless options for custom urn creation. Depending on the character or interests of your loved one, you can turn their final resting place into almost anything. Une Belle Vie Memorial Urns will create a custom sculpture of anything, as the final resting place for your loved one's cremains. From animals, to high heels, to sports or religious, there is a theme for every unique personality—including "blinged" urns. 

5. Turn them into art

Art from Ashes will turn your loved one's cremains into a work of art. A handcrafted glass memorial sculpture is a less morbid way to display an urn in your home. Gorgeous, colorful, and discreet, these stunning urns blend in with your decor, allowing you to keep the memorial in public view, without being a constant reminder of death in the space. 

Another company, Cremation Solutions, will make oil paint from cremains, and then turn the paint into a beautiful memorial painting. Like glass memorials, this is a way to display your loved one's memorial elegantly and with dignity in your home. 

Respect is key

With the changing climate of modern mourning, many are left unsure of how to behave. When the new normal is much more casual, how can we ensure we are doing our loved ones justice? 

Appropriate funeral etiquette iѕ based еѕѕеntiаllу оn showing рrоfоund respect for the dесеаѕеd, аnd соnduсting yourself in a dignifiеd manner. While an expensive, solemn occasion might seem odd for the funeral of a joyful, carefree person, it is inappropriate to take away from the gravity of the occasion. 

Keeping this ongoing need for balance in formality and authenticity in the mourning of loved ones, there are many interesting and inspirational ways to memorialize someone who has passed away. 

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