There’s a movement going on. People are taking their funerals seriously…but not necessarily solemnly. As end-of-life issues become more openly discussed and contemplated, many individuals are pondering the question of how they want to mark their own departures. Today, tears of sadness are not on the menu for everyone. Aging baby boomers in particular are likely to create and embrace new options, including those that celebrate life once it has ended.
“The same generation that questioned convention in sex, birth, and marriage will probably do the same in death care,” says 51-year old Char Barrett, a Seattle funeral director and founder of A Sacred Moment. Services include home funerals and life celebrations. These celebrations include everything from environmentally-friendly balloon releases and butterfly releases to affordable sea burials and aerial missions where cremated remains can be scattered by air. They also create customized folders that become memorable keepsakes for loved ones.
Custom Coffins: Art or Bacon?
Burial vessels need not be boring. Those individuals wanting to express themselves to the very end can now choose from a variety of creative options. There are caskets depicting a golf course, a sunset motorcycle ride, and The Last Supper. There is even a bacon coffin, thought by some to be a joke, but it is real. If you really want to go 100% DIY, you can build your own casket from this downloadable blueprint, then decorate it. The sky’s the limit.
Sensitive, Personal, and Eco-Friendly
There is also the choice of handcrafted burial and cremation shrouds, which are natural, biodegradable, and customized. Marian Spodone, founder of A Fine Farewell, is a textile artist, licensed minister, and ceremonial facilitator in Portland, Oregon. She believes in the power of beauty and creativity to help heal grieving hearts. Her customized shrouds are gorgeous works of art that not only take an ecological perspective into consideration, but a spiritual one as well. In lacing the cross ties of the shroud, families can participate in a “hands on” way of saying goodbye to their loved one. She also offers plain cremation boxes for individuals to take home and paint, collage, or embellish in any way they choose.
Erika Dillman wants to “put the F-U-N back in funerals.” Her funny, irreverent book, The Party of Your Life: Get the Funeral You Want by Planning it Yourself, shows how to plan your final farewell so it happens exactly the way you want it to, even if that means customized t-shirts, disco balls, and gift bags. Her blog even features her own personal iTunes funeral soundtrack. Dillman reminds us that the power of personal choice can be ours even after our last breath if we just think about it, write it down, and tell our loved ones well in advance.
Thank you to Ken30684 for the use of your photo “Death isn’t that bad.”