Unless you're some great leader destined to have a statue erected in your honour, there’s a good chance that your death will be marked by a standard funeral and little else. That is, unless you take the initiative to commemorate your own passing. All those funerals you attend in your life, and you never get to send off the most important person of all: yourself. It’s an injustice.
Thankfully, there are in fact all kinds of options available to you to make sure you get the coolest possible memorial to yourself. Whatever your interest, there’s a good chance some enterprising weirdo has gone out and created a thing that you'll want to use as a forever home for your ashes – assuming, of course, cremation works for you.
Whether you're shopping for yourself or an offbeat relative, here are some of the many atypical cremation vessels and options available to you.
14 A Snow Globe Of You
For the snow globe fanatics, bullworks.net offers the opportunity to have your ashes come to life in a swirling snowstorm. The site promises “The ashes of your loved one will come alive with your caress and freely float joyfully within their personal globe of heavenly tears.”
There are several colour and style options. Special requests, such as filling the globe with water from a particular location, are also available as extras.
13 A Loved One In A Tattoo
If you’re looking to make a lasting testament to a dearly departed loved one, consider inking them onto your body. Some tattoo parlors will mix an amount of cremation ash into ink, adding that little extra sentiment to the tattoo you’re getting. This is apparently becoming a big thing – In 2013, the National Post ran a story about the increase in demand for the service, which Health regulators warn may be unsafe.
12 Become A Coral Reef
Coral reefs are having a really tough time with global warming, and they’re just not getting the attention they need. That’s why Eternal Reefs’ memorial reefs are so ingenius. They get people to pay to help protect the environment, and the customers get to have their loved ones live on as a home for aquatic life.
The reefs come in different sizes, ranging from singles, to singles + a pet, to couples. Something for everyone.
11 From Ashes To Diamonds
Indulge your love of pretty things by becoming one. Companies like LifeGem allow you to take a bit of a body – “a lock of hair, or the cremated ashes of your loved one” – and use it as the base for a diamond.
There are several colour options available, and carat size ranges from .25 to 1.5. All LifeGems are inspected, certified, and stamped to prove authenticity. Animal lovers might also be glad to hear that the company will create stones of a cherished pet.
10 Go Out With A Bang
Hunter S. Thompson famously had his ashes launched into the air as fireworks, and so can you. There are several companies out there that advertise this service, and all follow the same basic idea: load up the ashes, light the fuse, and watch the pretty lights.
Different packages offer different moods, with comet trails and big popping explosions available to choose, depending on which fireworker maker you choose.
Be sure to have water on hand, just in case.
9 Become Time Itself
For those with poetic souls, some companies offer the option to have your ashes become the sands of time, tucked inside an hourglass urn. Inthelighturns.com says you can also opt for a package deal, “honoring two loved ones, such as one’s parents,” adding a level of customizability to the experience.
Multiple styles and sizes of hourglass urns are available, dependent on the merchant.
8 “Live On From Beyond The Groove”
Music lovers should love this. A company called “And Vinyl” will press cremation ashes into a vinyl record, preserving the deceased in an analogue vessel forever. The company urges customers to “Record personal messages, your last will & testament, your own soundtrack, or simply press your ashes to hear your pops & crackles for the minimal approach.”
Custom album art and several other extras are also available through the site. Listening party, anyone?
7 Become Art
If having ashes mixed in with paint and used in a piece of art sounds like your thing, several companies have you covered. There’s really no limit to the options here. Perhaps a portrait of the individual will be right, or maybe one that includes the whole family, or maybe just a pretty scene.
The artist will surely be willing to work with you to get exactly what you want, and there is almost certainly someone nearby you who offers a service like this.
6 Let The Light Shine Through You
Eye-catching and unique, Memorial Glass Artwork from Tropical Glass Designs places cremation ashes inside a piece of stained glass. The sculpture can then be displayed or stored as a typical urn – just prettier.
Each piece is blown and spun into shape, and many colour options are available. The studio also offers tours for any locals looking to get a closer look before committing to an eternity in glass.
5 Become Tree Food
Cremation ashes are, perhaps surprisingly, nutrient rich, which is why they’re sometimes combined with other plant food to create a Bio Urn. Bury the urn along with whichever seed you’d like to see planted in your remains and it will grow, chowing down on your ashes to sprout big and tall.
With concerns about carbon emissions growing every year, it might be nice to do the Earth a solid and plant one last tree on your way out. Food for thought.
4 ...Or Freeze-Dried Tree Food
Forget cremation for a second and consider going the opposite direction. Promession, a freezing technique, is a new idea in the remains game, and its creator hopes it will be a game changer.
The idea is to freeze the body, then place it in liquid nitrogen, break it down, and then dehydrate it. As with the Bio Urn process, the resulting powder is nutrient rich, and can be buried below a new seed or plant to help it grow. Expect to hear more about this in the coming years.
3 Launch Into Space
When a person’s left the earthly plane, it seems only fitting to give them a farewell voyage to the stars. Several companies offer this type of service, promising to launch remains either just into space, into orbit, to the moon’s orbit, or way out into the black. Of course - as with any airfare - the farther you go, the more you'll pay.
The services tend to come with a launch ceremony and event video to allow you to revisit the unique experience, should you wish to do so.
2 Float Up And Away
Another option for those looking to go sky-high, the Eternal Ascent Society’s memorial balloons take ashes several miles up in the air. At around 30,000 feet in the air, the balloon freezes and breaks apart, leaving the ashes to fly on the winds to wherever they may.
The balloons are about five feet in size, are biodegradable, and come in red, blue, green, or yellow.
1 Rest In A Teddy Bear
Urns aren’t very huggable, so consider a Bereavement Bear if you’re looking for a little fuzzy comfort when thinking of your loved one.
The Eddy Bear Company takes cremation ashes, a lock of hair, or some memento of sentimental value and places it in a red heart, which is then stored in the chest of the Bereavement Bear. A personal message can also be stitched onto the paws of each bear.