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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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May 20, 2008

Remains of the day

I’ve heard of ashes being turned into commemorative jewelry. But a Chicago Tribune article mentioned other options. In California, Memory Glass suspends cremated remains in hand-blown glass orbs and pendants, and Memorial Glass can make “anything that can be made with glass” (bowls, heart-shaped keepsakes and drinking glasses). Eternal Reefs turns remains into an underwater ecosystem—160 memorial reefs snake along the Florida coast in a line two football fields wide.

Even urns can be as whimsical as a sundial or birdbath.

Then there’s Robert Genest, a retired executive of Frederick’s of Hollywood, who wants to send his daughter’s remains into space.

“Whatever is important to you,” said Mark Matthews, director of the Cremation Association of North America, “people are doing these kinds of things because they fit the life of the person they love.”

That same weekend, Parade quoted a person who wants to be mixed into paint and made into a “beautiful landscape for loved ones to enjoy.” A man told his wife to put his ashes in a coffee jar that’s kept in the car. She could use them to get out if her car got stuck in the snow—“I can help her own more time!” Another wants to be sprinkled into the cement of a freeway and have “contact with thousands of people a day.”

The options seem endless (and the funerals must be interesting). Is that a good thing?

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