The nice thing about Mark-in-a-Box is that he could go anywhere, anytime. In fact, we were part of a growing trend. In 2010, an estimated 38.15% of America’s deceased were cremated, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. Not surprisingly, therefore, the practice of scattering cremains in unusual, non-traditional (and often illegal) locations is, well, spreading.
Next time you jump in the lake, think again. There’s a good chance at least one person is in there swimming with the fishes. Who doesn’t know somebody who doesn’t know somebody who spread somebody’s ashes in a body of water? The answer is nobody. Thank God we have two giant oceans plus thousands of lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, brooks, and trickles in North America alone.
National parks are also big favorites with 58 to choose from. Mark liked his” spread” at the Grand Canyon very much, but it was so much more inspiring to sprinkle him in Old Faithful and definitely funnier to put him in Death Valley. Still, you are more likely to step on someone’s bones at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park than any other as it’s the busiest with more than nine million visitors a year.
Ball parks are also big: Think Fenway, Yankee Stadium, Wrigley Field. And then there’s always the Mall of America or better yet, Wal-Mart for devoted but now dearly departed discount shoppers. The possibilities are truly endless: Movie theaters for fallen film buffs? The top of the Empire State Building? How about the Zehnder’s Restaurant in Frankenmuth, Michigan? It’s the biggest in the United States with nine dining rooms serving up to 900 guests. I mean 901, including Mark.
But there’s no dodging the video surveillance cameras at Disneyland! Can you guess what they’re recording at alarming rates? Yup. You guessed it. That ain’t Tinkerbell’s Magic Fairy Dust flying in your face: It could be human remains! Imagine the possibilities in the Haunted Mansion alone. I know because Mark is there too.
Here are some of more interesting, unusual, and/or downright ridiculous things people suggested I do with Mark.
Turn Him into a Box of Pencils
Yes, you read that right. There’s an artist named Nadine Jarvis who creates pencils from ashes –240 pencils to be exact– that are stored inside a specially designed box, with a sharpener in its side and a viewing window on top. When the pencils are sharpened into the side of the box, the pencil shavings turn into a new kind of ash, and the box becomes a kind of urn.
Become a Tramp Stamp
Have a portion of your loved one’s ashes mixed with the tattoo ink before going under the needle.
Mix His Ashes into Paint
This could be done to create a portrait of Mark or even when I was ready to paint our new house.
Make Him Part of a Coral Reef
Calling all environmentalists and ocean lovers! There’s now a company called Eternal Reef that’s helping to rebuild coral reefs by creating cement structures that the coral can latch onto and grow. Starting at about $4,000, you can have ashes poured into the concrete. Larger personal reefs can hold up to four people and include pets. If that’s too pricey, you can have your remains mixed together with others and as part of a complete reef system.
Turn Him into Bullets
What could say I love you more than turning Mark into a box of ammo? Dad’s body may be gone, but he doesn’t have to miss next year’s hunting trip! There’s actually a company called Holy Smoke that does this!
Turn Him into Fireworks
You can now literally “go out with a bang” when incorporated into a fireworks display through companies like Heaven’s Above and Angel Flights. The bereaved can choose between the grand finale or having the ashes stuffed into small, self-fired rockets for a private ceremony at home.
Play Him at 33 1/3 rpms
There’s apparently a UK-based record shop that will press cremated ashes into a set of vinyl records. You pick the artwork and the music, or plan ahead and record your own spoken word message to loved ones.
Balloon Him into the Atmosphere
Eternal Ascent is one company that will place him inside a helium balloon. The balloon then travel to an altitude of 5 miles where, at the temperature of -40° below zero, it crystallizes and bursts, scattering the ashes.
Launch Him into Space
Celestis offers postmortem space flights, including everything from a trip into orbit and back to earth, to a more adventurous journey into deep space. This could be just the one-way ticket!
Turn Him into Jewelry
Life Gem is one such company that will turn a lock of hair or some of your loved one’s cremated remains into a certified diamond.
Why couldn’t someone create an I Dream of Jeannie urn where the deceased could just magically reappear? Now that’s something I would pay for.
Nice urns found on the Internet:
Copyright © 2014 Laura Fahrenthold