Cremation is the Winner!

There are a couple of hours left to vote, but I don't think I'm gonna get inundated all of a sudden. So, at this writing, 17 people voted in the poll.  This makes me kinda happy inside.  I did some surfing of the web, and if you click on the title, you can go the The National Cremation Association to get a better idea of what is in store for you.  That sounds so morbid.  Sorry.

I also found this interesting article on their site.  
It is  called "Getting Creative with Cremains" and is written by Carolyn Banks.

More of us are choosing cremation these days, says Jack Springer, executive director of the Chicago based Cremation Association of North America. In some states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida,Hawaii, Montana, Nevada and Oregon), more than half the people choose to be cremated rather than buried, Mr. Springer says.

"The number has been going up gradually but steadily over the past 20 years," he adds. 

"This is because we're living longer and making our own choices. Cremation is easier to arrange. It is also viewed as less expensive than burial."

But Mr. Springer also says most people don't know what to do with a loved one's cremated remains — or "cremains" as they're often called. The word has quickly gaining popularity. Human cremated remains weigh, on average, about 6.5 pounds and, in volume, take up a shoebox sized space. Scattering ashes is an age-old tradition. You can have your ashes scattered on your own property or, if you get permission, someone else's. It's legal to scatter cremated remains on public land — in national parks, for example — as long as the place chosen isn't a Native American burial ground. Scattering at sea is also legal. Federal law requires that the ashes be dropped at least three nautical miles from shore. You can also have the cremated remains placed in an urn that will dissolve in water. The state of Washington requires that scattered remains be no greater than 1/8 inch in diameter, but this seems an unenforceable law. In any case, crematories generally process the remains into smaller granules before turning them over to loved ones, Mr. Springer says. Because of the growing popularity of cremation, many cemeteries now have designated gardens or trails where ashes can be scattered. Many also offer large, rock-like structures bearing a nameplate to hold cremated remains.

Swim with the Fishies
Mr. Springer wants his own remains placed in a "reef ball" and put into the sea near the island of Bimini in the Bahamas. This is where he and his family have gone to dive for years, he says, and "it would give the kids a reason to go back." 

Want to be cremated?
Be sure you fill out a legal form called "Designation of Agent for Disposition of Remains" so you can name someone who will carry out your wishes. You can download the form online at the Texas Legal Services Corporation Web site. And be sure to tell the person you name that you've done this!

"Eternal Reefs" are hollow, concrete structures with holes that accommodate small fish and other oceanic life. They can be cast for individuals or be made to contain the remains of up to five people, each memorialized with a plaque. The remains are mixed with the concrete so they become part of the reef. Family members, if they wish, can be present when the remains and concrete are mixed, and
they can go out on a boat to watch the reef being placed. Eternal Reefs of Decatur , Ga., has sites where reefs can be placed in New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, South Carolina and Texas.
The least expensive reef costs around $1,000; placement charges are additional.

Out with a bang
Columbiad Launch Services in Canada will load your cremains into a Mosquito rocket and eject them into the atmosphere. Their Web site boasts that the company will launch your entire remains, not just a token amount.  An individual launch costs $12,500, but if you're willing to have your Remains go up with others, the price comes down to a mere $500. After the launch, the cremated remains are ejected and will waft back to earth. The launch service says some ashes may be picked up and swirl about in jet streams.
A video of the launch is made available, and it can also be viewed on the Internet.
Celestis, Inc. in Houston ( will place what it calls "a symbolic portion" of your ashes into a sealed container and blast you off into what their Web site calls "the peaceful solitude of space." It will cost just under $1,000 for a one-gram launch, and more if you would like more of your remains to go. Loved ones can either be present at lift-off or view it on DVD. Not surprisingly, Gene Roddenberry, the creator of "Star Trek," chose this way to sign off, as did James Doohan, the actor who played the chief engineer, Scotty, of the original Starship Enterprise.

Such a Jewel!
The carbon in your cremated remains can be made into a diamond, says LifeGem, an Elk Grove, Ill., company ( It costs about $1,000 at minimum. Once you're a gem, you'll have to be mounted into a ring or pendant, and that will cost a bit more. If this is way out of your price range, you might purchase a piece of jewelry into which your loved ones can insert a portion of your remains. Most cremation jewelry even comes with a little funnel for the do-it-yourselfer. Perfect Memorials ( has a wide selection of decorative capsules for cremated remains - hearts, teardrops, crosses and
even abstract designs. Glassmementos, a company based in Eugene, Ore., ( can fashion your ashes into a sphere, a bud vase, a palm-sized touchstone or a hanging ornament. A portion of ash is mixed with molten glass, then re-dipped into clear glass to completely seal it inside a beautiful glass reliquary.

The art at death
Is there an oil painter whose work you admire? Copying a technique pioneered by a Biloxi, Miss., company called Eternally Yours Memorial Art, you could pre-arrange to have your cremains mixed with oil paint and brushed onto a canvas that can grace a wall in your loved one's home. How do you see yourself? As a tranquil summer meadow? A fiery autumnal display? You get to decide. You can even have most of the work on the painting done while you're still around and have the
cremains mixed in to complete it when you're gone. If you decide to store your remains the traditional way in an urn, Urnsmart, headquartered in Bowie, Md., has a Web site ( where you can find clock urns, picture frame urns, urns made of exotic woods, urns that will store a flag, even urns made to look like bowling pins. Perfect Memorials has a number of what they call "sport urns" which enable you or your loved one's remains to be stored in something that reflects his or her hobbies or other interests. You can buy an urn with a hot air balloon painted on it, for instance, or one made to look like cowboy boots.

Go out in style
"Cremation gives you lots of options," says Mr. Springer. "You scatter for the deceased and you memorialize for the living. You can do both with cremation." Convenience is yet another reason more people are choosing this method of departure. With a conventional burial, Mr. Springer points out, survivors have to act within a few days of your death, but cremation, a memorial event that may include a dramatic exit like those described here, can be scheduled months later.
Everything you want to know about cremation can be found on the Cremation Association of North America’s computer Web site,