It used to be a simple choice – burial or cremation. Pine box or steel fortress. Ashes saved for lockets and urns or scattered to the wind or ocean. If you really wanted to get fancy, you could hire a plane and pilot to scatter them over the city of your choice.
The good news is that death is no longer a four letter word. It’s out of the closet and getting a lot of attention. Dying has even become part of the cornucopia of consumer decisions. We now have lots of choices for where we want to spend eternity.
Like to scuba or snorkel and want to be part of the surf and turf forever? A company will create an artifical memorial reef combining your ashes with environmentally safe cement and place the reef in your favorite diving spot.
Concerned about metal contamination of the soil? You can have a biodegradable coffin. Interested in downsizing? Costco sells coffins that do double duty as storage or seating while you’re still here. There’s even a company planning to bring ashes to the moon as soon as space shuttling becomes cost effective.
All this talk and choice about going green as we go out is good. Talking about death has been a taboo subject for too long.A good way to desensitize a subject that we fear and try not to think about is by treating it as part of the ordinary. Placing it squarely in the marketplace of choices demystifies the subject and helps to allay some of the anxiety.
After all, if we’re going to be somewhere for eternity, we might as well have it exactly the way we want it.