Alicia King, author of Sorry For Your Loss: What People Who Are Grieving Wish You Knew, was quoted in an unusual article on “Clever Resting Places” that was distributed by Creators Syndicate in their Fall 2010 Golden Years Supplement.
Only the second major independent syndicate founded since the 1930s, Creators Syndicate distributes a variety of features, including advice, lifestyle and opinion columns, as well as comics and editorial cartoons. Founded in 1987, the service represents more than 200 of the most talented writers and artists in the world, including Robert Novak, , Bill O'Reilly, , BC, Wizard of Id, and . Our talent has won countless awards, including Pulitzer prizes, Reuben awards, and many others.
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CLEVER RESTING PLACES
Ways to live on long after cremation
Why spend eternity in the ground when you could be shot into space, turned into a diamond or swim with the fishes as part of a manmade reef?
With cremation on the rise, companies are offering a surprisingly offbeat array of options for memorializing loved ones, from pressing remains into vinyl records to packing ashes into professional-grade fireworks.
"It's the baby boomer generation putting their individual stamp on end-of-life celebrations, just as they've done with weddings and childbirth," says Gail Rubin, author of "A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don't Plan to Die." "Increasingly, the hobbies, interests, passions and causes embraced by the deceased are reflected in how they dispose of their cremated remains. After making unique statements throughout life, baby boomers are making their idiosyncrasies known in death."
For example, Fredric Baur, the inventor of the Pringles potato chip can, asked that his ashes be buried in his iconic creation. editor had his ashes mixed into ink used in a reprint of his "" comic book. The man credited with turning the Frisbee into a pop culture phenomenon asked to have his ashes mixed into a batch of plastic for the flying discs. The company obliged, and the Edward Headrick discs are now hot collectors' items.
These unique tributes are a form of immortality, a way for the deceased to "live on" in creative expressions that reflect their lives.
"How we plan our final rest is one of the most personal decisions we will make," says Alicia King, author of "Sorry For Your Loss: What People Who Are Grieving Wish You Knew." "Most business spelled out in a will be resolved in a relatively short time, but our big finish can be the one thing that defines us to future generations. You might not find the details of your patriotic great-great-grandfather's life all that fascinating, but if he had his ashes shot from a cannon on the ? Now that's an ending that will stand the test of time."
Some of the more unusual options:
*Hitch a Ride to the Moon
Hitch a ride into outer space on a commercial or scientific satellite. Credited with sending "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry's remains into the final frontier, Celestis has been launching ashes into orbit for more than 10 years, and the pioneer in memorial spaceflight will offer lunar and deep space burials soon. For $2,500, Celestis will launch a "symbolic portion of cremated remains" into Earth's orbit, where they will remain for 10 to 240 years before vaporizing upon re-entry into the atmosphere. A trip to the moon is a bit pricier; for $9,995, you can book passage to the lunar surface as early as 2012.
*Swim With the Fishes
Transform your remains into an underwater ecosystem. For $2,500 and up, Eternal Reefs will mix your ashes into environmentally safe concrete and cast an artificial reef formation. The structures -- each weighing up to 4,500 pounds -- are engineered to entice sea life and strengthen natural reef formations. Over the past 12 years, the company has placed more than 1,000 memorial reefs off the coasts of Florida and the eastern United States.
*Go Out With a Bang
Companies such as Heavens Above Fireworks pack cremated remains into professional-grade pyrotechnics to send loved ones out with a bang, literally. Fourth of July-style memorial services start at about $1,600, but do-it-yourselfers can purchase self-firing rockets repacked with ashes for at-home displays. Individual rockets cost about $120 each.
*Be Pressed Into Diamonds
LifeGem creates custom gemstones from cremated remains. Molecularly identical to natural diamonds, LifeGems are made by subjecting the carbon atoms in ashes to intense heat and pressure. It's the same way makes diamonds -- without the wait. What takes millions of years underground takes just a few months in the lab. A full carat will set you back about $20,000, but smaller gems are available starting at $2,500.
*Spin a Tune on Vinyl
British company And Vinyly will press cremated remains into an old-school vinyl record for a lasting audio homage. Include a personal message; read your last will and testament; preserve your original musical compositions; or offer a moment of silence. Prerecorded tracks and original commissioned compositions are also available. For an additional fee, a professional artist will paint a portrait of the deceased as cover art. Packages start at about $4,700.
It's not your typical urn. The "Lifetime Hourglass Keepsake Urn" collection from Urns transforms cremated remains into a functional timepiece that "becomes a family heirloom that can be passed down for generations," according to the company's website. Ashes from two loved ones can be combined in one urn so you and your spouse can spend eternity together, reminding those on earth of the fleeting nature of time. Prices start at $240.
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