Contemplating the conclusion of our lives can often be a difficult and (preferably) avoidable subject. But it doesn’t have to be. It can also be a celebration of life. An opportunity to reflect on beautiful stories and experiences, or a time to remember what we value and love in life.
We spend much of our lives learning to express ourselves in ways that reflect who we are and what's important to us. And now there are more opportunities than ever to continue that expression into the great beyond. Modern advancements are having a significant impact on the options available to us for “burial”.
The landscape of alternative burial options is complicated and broad. Below, we explore a few of the most common burial alternatives, including a couple of the less common. Now, granted, not all of these alternatives are technically burials - as we traditionally associate a “burial” with being literally buried beneath the ground. Perhaps a more clarified term is interred, or funeral, or remembrance. Let’s go with remembrance.
Burial of Ashes
One of the more popular memorials for those who choose cremation is to simply bury ashes in the ground. This can be done with a permanent urn with a burial vault, or a biodegradable urn such as the affordable and environmentally friendly Eco Burial Urn, made entirely from bamboo. The burial can take place at home in the yard, a special place outdoors, or even at a nearby cemetery. This can be a great way to remember a loved one and celebrate their life. It also provides for a permanent resting place that can be visited by family and friends for years to come.
Mushroom Suit (aka Infinity Burial Suit)
You read that correctly: a suit made of mushrooms for burial. Well, it’s not made only of mushrooms but an organic cotton, pajama-like construction, laced with spores of various mushrooms.
And, as you might have guessed, this is one of those alternatives that holds a place in the green funeral movement. The suit is constructed with the intent of not only assisting in natural decomposition, but also transforming the decomposed product into suitable and safer material for the environment. It accomplishes this by neutralizing the internal toxins in the human body and turning them into nutrients for the soil. The Centers for Disease Control has said that modern (21st century) people are filled with a diversity of toxins, like BPA, preservatives, pesticides, residue from disinfectants, and even heavy metals, to name a few. The Infinity Burial Suit, also known as the Great Mushroom Suit, contributes to dissolving and mutating these toxins into less harmful and more productive nutrients for Mother Earth.
The cost of this unique “suit” is even lower than the average casket with a vault, making it that much more sustainable as an economic resource for burial as well. Also, if mushrooms are good enough for our hamburgers and steaks, they have to be just as good for our final resting place, right?
Again, your eyes are not deceiving you. You can actually be "buried" via a rocket shot into the great beyond, the last voyage…through space. This is a far less common form of remembrance (and considerably more expensive than most burials). Still, it is interesting to note for our discussion here.
These burials in space came about as a sort of side business. As the commercial space industry grew, so did ideas for space burials. In most cases, these are not burials in the way we traditionally understand (and in some ways, they are not even burials in the way we uncommonly regard them). A single gram or a few grams of a person’s cremated remains can be transported by a rocket for the conventional space burial. Rockets are not exactly built like cargo planes or minivans for transporting a large haul. So, instead, a small and symbolic portion of the deceased is typically carried into space.
Currently, there are four types of space burials. They range from spending as little as a few minutes in space to being transported beyond the solar system itself (currently unavailable due to scientific restraints).
Bio Urn (Tree Burial)
Our final burial (remembrance) alternative is easily one of the most popular options on this list - and any other list like it. Bio urns offer a simple, elegant, and beautiful way to remember those who have passed. In line with the first two alternatives listed in this post, BioUrns® also have an essential place in the developing green burial movement. They offer the chance for the remains of a body to grow into a tree, plant, or flowers. Even the opportunity to hold a forever home in a well-maintained forest of other trees.
Typically, a young tree or plant is matured in part of the urn and initially separate from the ashes of the deceased. After a process of growth and decomposition, the tree roots are sturdy enough to integrate with the ashes and grow out from the urn. The person you are remembering becomes part a real-life tree, or plant, or flowers.
Many families choose to plant the BioUrn® in a personal garden, backyard, or other special place. A growing interest in this type of memorial has resulted in a unique and special opportunity. The leading bio urn provider in America, The Living Urn®, identifies it as a Memory Forest®. The Living Urn partnered with cemeteries and memorial gardens all around the country to offer families the opportunity to plant and grow their bio urns in gorgeous and idyllic environments that last for generations. Forests are maintained by a professional staff that are specially trained to ensure thriving ecological environments.
The Living Urn®’s patented BioUrn® option serves as a beautiful symbol to memorialize a loved one and the company offers over 50 tree options, narrowed down by zip codes to what grows best in each area of the country. If you want to take care of plans ahead of time, you can even can select your tree now, or reserve a spot in a Memory Forest for you or a loved one.