If you opted for cremation, but still aren’t sure what you want done with your ashes, prepare to be inspired. Some creative individuals and companies came up with these inventive ideas for your ashes, and not one of them involves sitting in a ceramic vase on your family mantelpiece.
Shoot Them Into Outer Space
Few of us will make it to the moon in our lifetimes, but you can send your ashes into galaxies far, far away through a space burial. Companies like Elysium and Celestis will launch your remains into Earth’s orbit, into a lunar orbit, or even into deep space. Just reserve early -- their launches are (understandably) infrequent.
Go Under The Sea
How would you like to spend an eternity at the beach? Then elect for a sea burial, where your ashes are embedded into the ocean floor (to learn more, do a quick "sea burial" search for options). You could also become part of The Neptune Society's Neptune Memorial Reef or “Eternal Reefs," which are man-made structures designed to foster new marine habitats for fish and all their aquatic friends. These artificial reefs are partially built on cremated remains, which help them grow and thrive. And you don’t need to be a marine biologist to request burial here -- the reefs are open to everyone, including pets. [Photo Source: Eternal Reef]
Wear Them As Jewelry
California glassblower Merry Coor can turn remains into an “ash bead.” These pretty pieces come in shades of blue and green, and incorporate the ashes into a spiral design. You can attach them to bracelets and chains to wear all the time.
If you want those ashes transformed into something more sparkly, turn to Switzerland. The Swiss company Algordanza converts remains into diamonds under high heat and pressure. And when you place an order, they’ll even throw in complimentary airfare, so the ashes can be delivered in person.
Turn Them Into Music
The UK company And Vinyly will press your ashes into a record that plays a personal message, a will, a custom soundtrack, or just crackles. You also get control over the album cover. The basic set-up is a simple black background with a name, date of birth, and date of death, but if you upgrade, artist James Hague will paint a portrait using either photos you send or a formal sitting. So if you’ve always wanted to feel like a cross between a rock star and old-timey aristocrat, now’s your chance.
Transform Into A Tree
On the surface, the Bios Urn is just another container. But this unique device contains soil and a seed atop the ashes, which allows new life to spring forth. With time and care, the Bios Urn transforms into a maple, beech, ash, ginkgo, or pine tree. And you don’t have to worry about wasting fancy plastics in the process -- each Bios Urn is made from 100% biodegradable materials.
Allow Them To Have One Last Dance (Or Mosh)
When a semi-anonymous man named Nick passed earlier this year, he had one final request: he wanted his ashes scattered into a metal show mosh pit. The band Behemoth did just that at a concert in Chicago, with Dying Fetus following suit a few weeks later. The groups got wind of Nick’s wishes through social media, which means you could also ask your favorite bands for a similar tribute. There’s no guarantee they’ll say yes, but clearly, there’s precedent. [Photo Source: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock.com]
Light Up The Night Sky
There are several companies which will strap ashes into fireworks shells. Angels Flight, Heavenly Stars Fireworks. and Heavens Above Fireworks all offer such services. With each of them, you have the ability to customize the show or even launch the fireworks yourself -- provided, of course, that’s a safe and legal option in your hometown.
Take Them Around The World
When Hallie Twomey suddenly lost her son C.J., she struggled to figure out the most appropriate burial. But in a nod to C.J.’s love of adventure, she set up a Facebook page called “Scattering CJ” that asked strangers across the world to spread bits of his ashes in their home countries. Through this initiative, C.J. has seen many places he never visited while he was alive, including the Caribbean, Morocco, and Japan. You can execute a smaller-scale feat by laying out a set of meaningful destinations for your ashes in your Will.
Float Them In A Balloon
The Florida-based Eternal Ascent Society promises to “send your loved one to the heavens” through the power of helium balloons. Following any memorial services, Eternal Ascent picks up the remains either from a family member or the funeral home. The ashes are then placed inside a large, helium-powered balloon and taken to a chosen release point. Once the balloon hits a height of about five miles, it splits and scatters the remains to the wind. If you want the ashes to go even higher, Mesoloft uses high altitude balloons to take them to the edge of space before releasing the cremains to the earth's winds. Both services provide a video to the family; Eternal Ascent's video is of the balloon launch, while Mesoloft films the entire flight including the release of the ashes.