Times are tough for people in the business of dying, the Boston Globe reports today.
Traditional funerals are out and by 2030, 71 percent of the dead will be cremated and people are looking for more creative ways to honor them.
Families who opt for cremation spend 42 cents on the dollar compared to the traditional funeral. That’s inflicted a toll on many in the industry who haven’t adapted.
It’s a fine line between respectful and tacky and over the next few years, apparently, we’re going to struggle finding it.
In the town I lived in before moving to Minnesota, for example, a woman wrapped her mother’s body in a cotton sheet, laid her in a cardboard coffin, added dry ice and invited family and friends to a vigil at her dance studio, inviting people to play music and see and touch her face for the last time, the Globe said.
“The first day she looked like herself. She had a little smile on her face. She looked quite peaceful,” she said. “The next day she was just a little bit caved in. The next day she was definitely a cadaver.”
That, as we say in Minnesota, is… interesting.
Caskets and headstones are out, and that’s got some people concerned.
“How are we going to record our existence?” said Jacquelyn Taylor, a former professor of funeral service education at Mount Ida College.
Seed pods, the Globe says.
In Italy, designers have created these:
Just add ashes, stick it in the ground, and plant a tree over it. The “pod” acts as fertilizer.
Eventually, the designers plan to make bigger pods in which bodies are placed inside in the fetal position. Instead of cemeteries, the departed will create “sacred forests.”
If that doesn’t do it for you, you can always choose to be turned into a diamond, NPR reported a couple of years ago.
It takes about a pound of ashes and about three months to make a diamond.
The process costs almost as much as a traditional funeral, but a family member can wear you to the country club.
Related: Unearthing the secret of New York’s mass graves (New York Times)