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5 Unique End-of-Life Options to Celebrate Your Loved One

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While it’s likely you’ve heard of burial or cremation as a final wish, there are several other end-of-life options to choose from that aren’t as widely known.

As you begin planning for a loved one’s end-of-life celebration and final resting place, you may come across some of these options and realize one may suit your loved one better than another.

Whatever end-of-life option you choose for your loved one, you’ll want to be sure it’s as special as the life lived. For more information about unique end-of-life options to celebrate your loved one, continue reading below.

1. Green Burial

In Northeast Ohio, earth burial is the most common burial choice. However, a new form of burial is growing in popularity and interest: green burials.

According to the Green Burial Council (GBC), “It’s a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact that aids in the conservation of natural resources, reduction of carbon emissions, protection of worker health, and the restoration and/or preservation of habitat.”

Green burials, or natural burials, are free from formaldehyde, metal or concrete grave liners and burial vaults. The caskets, coffins or alternative containers used to transport the body are made of biodegradable materials.

Advocates of green burial take comfort in knowing that as their bodies decompose, they become part of nature. While many funeral homes may say that they support green burial, look for a facility that is certified by the GBC. Busch Funeral and Crematory Services is one of only 16 GBC-certified funeral homes in Ohio.

2. A Special Scattering Place

Scattering one’s cremated remains in a special place can help offer family and friends a sense of peace knowing their loved one was laid to rest in a place they loved.

For instance, if your loved one was a pilot or boat captain, or simply loved flying or boating, consider scattering their cremated remains by air or sea. Or if your loved one enjoyed hiking, consider scattering their cremated remains at their favorite national park.

If you or your loved one choose to go this route, keep in mind that you must follow sea burial regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as ensure your pilot has a license permit for scattering by air. Additionally, areas like national parks, forests and reserves require a special permit, so it’s best to contact a local park manager before scattering cremated remains in any of these areas.

>>>Related Resource: Where Can I Scatter Cremated Remains in Ohio?

3. A Memorial Garden

A special tribute to a loved one, a memorial garden can serve as a unique way to memorialize someone who loved the outdoors or gardening. Many cemeteries feature memorial gardens, where cremated remains can be scattered, and they can also be planted in private areas. They can be any size and typically include flowers, trees or any other plants that are reminiscent of your loved one.

Many families choose to plant their loved one’s favorite flowers, or perhaps research the symbolism behind popular flowers. They may also add a memorial garden stone or sign to serve as a physical marker for their loved one’s special place, as well as a bench or swing to relax on while enjoying the garden’s beauty.

It’s important to remember that there are no set rules for creating a memorial garden. No matter how big or small, it’ll honor your loved one’s memory in a special, meaningful way.

4. Organ Donation

Have you or your loved one considered organ donation?

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “organs from one donor can save or help as many as 50 people.” And since thousands of people are waiting for life-saving organ transplants every day, it’s important for families to discuss such topics and make end-of-life wishes known to one another.

An individual may decide to become an organ donor while living via a driver’s license elective. Alternatively, if a loved one suddenly passes from an accidental death, families can choose to give the gift of life to others.

It’s a simple act of love and generosity that may provide some meaning to an unforeseen loss. Additionally, some families may choose to receive a letter of confirmation upon the success of transplantation(s). This too can provide comfort and closure for friends and family of the departed.

For more information about organ donation, check out this resource.

5. A Personalized Service

If you want to design a meaningful tribute that helps tell the story of your loved one’s life, talk to your funeral provider about personalization options.

From customized memory boards showcasing special photographs to music and mementos, personalization is a simple and easy way to celebrate the life of your loved one while honoring their wishes and beliefs.

Personalization options may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Bereavement and sympathy gifts.
  • Display of cherished belongings.
  • Flowers.
  • Memorial candles.
  • Multimedia tribute.
  • Music.
  • Photo collage presentation.
  • Unique requests.

In the event that you’re planning a funeral for a veteran or public servant, there are additional personalization options, benefits and honors to ensure a memorial of the highest caliber. Depending on the funeral home, some services and merchandise may be offered free of charge.

Busch has a team of Celebrants who can help create a meaningful and highly personalized tribute to your loved one, celebrating all the things that made them special.

>>>Related Resource: 20+ Unique Funeral Personalization Ideas

Choose Your End-of-Life Celebration by Preplanning

Do any of the above ideas sound like a celebration you’d like to be remembered by? If so, there’s a way you can document your wishes so your loved ones are aware: preplanning.

By preplanning, you can be confident that your final wishes will be met while preventing added stress to your loved ones. For more information on preplanning, download our free guide, Seniors’ Guide to Funeral Arrangements, or schedule a consultation with one of our preplanning advisors.  

Download our preplanning guide

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Amy Boyd-Kirksey
Amy Boyd-Kirksey
Interested in what makes each one of us unique and special. Amy says she is privileged to have the opportunity to help families and friends honor those qualities in their loved one. She has a passion for music and words, and enjoys using these tools to remember and celebrate a life.

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