Many Americans are taking control of the way end of life is recognized. This is evident in the recent HBO documentary, Alternate Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America, which explores how surviving family members are choosing to commemorate the lives of people who have passed in non-traditional ways.
From space to sea, we explore four non-traditional final resting places that you may not have heard of but are worth exploring.
1. Outer Space
While it may seem like an out-of-this-world dream, spaceflight is now a reality for all of us—even those who are no longer alive.
Celestis Memorial Spaceflights makes this possible by launching a portion of cremated remains into near-space as part of a real space mission. Each launch is attended by surviving family members and friends to serve as a celebration of life. The celebration also includes site tours, with space experts present. Attendees are encouraged to share stories of those who have passed before launch takes place.
In June 2019, SpaceX launched the Celestis 16th Memorial Spaceflight, including the cremated remains of 152 souls.
Did you know engineers can transform carbon from cremated remains into diamonds? It’s true: Using high-tech machines, engineers are able to process the cremated remains with heat and pressure to extract pure carbon elements that are physically and chemically identical to natural diamonds.
The process can take anywhere from five to eight months depending on the package and price selected. Once complete, families can have the diamond set into a piece of jewelry to give infinite continuance to the person who passed.
The Swiss company Algordanza processes approximately 1,000 memorial diamonds per year.
3. Green Burial
Looking for an alternative to traditional burial? Consider green burial. This non-evasive, eco-friendly practice is free of toxic chemicals and fluids that are commonly used with earth burials. It’s no surprise then that green burial is growing in popularity and interest.
Green burial is a unique way of caring for the dead, which aids in the conservation of natural resources with minimal environmental impact.
Families are able to lay a loved one to rest in harmony with nature right here in Northeast Ohio at FoxField Preserve, the first nature preserve cemetery in Ohio.
>>>Related Resource: 3 Things to Keep In Mind When Planning a Green Burial for a Loved One
4. Eternal Reef
Have you heard of an eternal reef? Made of environmentally safe cement mixtures, eternal reefs are designed to help heal the sea and soul.
Cremated remains are added to a perforated dome that sits at the bottom of the ocean to encourage the growth of new reefs with minimal effect on the existing environment. The reef then serves as a home for fish and other forms of sea life, while creating a living legacy that memorializes the passing of a loved one.
Close family members and friends are encouraged to participate in the creation of an eternal reef. Participants can help mix the cremated remains into the concrete, and personalize the memorial with written messages. Once complete, the reef is placed in the permitted ocean location, with family present.
Get the Grief Support You Need
While memorializing a loved one in a meaningful and memorable way can help the healing process, it’s important that you and your family get the grief support you need. Our weekly newsletter, A Journey Towards Healing, offers grief support tips to connect you with reliable information as you embark on life after a loss. Subscribe to receive weekly emails of encouragement across an entire year of your grief journey.