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Unique products made from cremated ashes of loved ones (pets and humans)


When I taught Grade 5 Science in Ontario, one of the units focused on the 3 R’s and the impact of waste items on the environment. The students learned, for example, that it takes approximately 500-1000 years for a plastic waste bag to decompose in a landfill, where as an aluminum can takes approximately 200 years, glass takes 1,000,000 years and cotton items take 1-5 months.


As a death doula, I also recognize that our bodies have a significant impact on the environment long after we die. Traditionally, people have chosen in-ground burials in coffins or caskets, or above ground in mausoleums. Other choices are cremation, with ashes placed in urns similarly above or below ground.


Ashes, of courses don’t have to be buried. They can be scattered at sea or in other bodies of water, on land or even in the air. Local guidelines must be followed. Disney apparently even has a code phrase for those who go against their policy and scatter remains at their parks. The Haunted Mansion is a favourite place according to an article I read from Lonely Planet.


Aerial scattering via specialized airplanes, provides a means of widespread scattering over a specific location chosen by the deceased or the family. Some skydiving companies also offer aerial scattering, either by yourself through a sky diving experience, or by one of their own personnel. One company I researched incorporates ashes into personal fireworks, a more intimate type of aerial scattering.


But what if you want to hold onto some of those ashes of your loved ones? Funeral homes will gladly package up ashes to place in a smaller decorative urn or box and have been doing this practice for decades. Veterinarians do the same thing. I personally have a small box of one of my cat’s ashes.


Some funeral homes offer jewelry options that can incorporate ashes of loved ones. I’ve seen lovely necklace pendants that also include a fingerprint of the loved one.

On the pet side- I know of one friend who has had the ashes of her pets blown into small glass art works. This option is available for human ashes too. Stained glass creations are another option.


New “greener” products are becoming more and more available, but not everyone is aware of the options. I came across interesting articles (see sources) that outline a few options that I had heard about as a death doula, and a few that I hadn’t.


One company uses ashes, mixed with paint, to create a portrait of the person/pet who died. Along a similar vein, one company uses ashes and a 3D printer to create a bust of the person/pet who died.


One company creates teddy bears that contain ashes- I would tout it as “great for snuggling”.


If your loved one was an avid hunter, a set of bullets containing ashes can be created.

Although I love wine, I’m not planning on having my ashes turned into wine. According to one article I read (see sources), Maynard James Keenan, the lead singer of the band Tool, decided to scatter his mother’s remains over his vineyard. He later named one of the wines after her.


As a former teacher, the idea that cremated remains could be turned into a box of 240 pencils was intriguing. Apparently, the company that makes this product puts them in a box so that only one pencil can be removed at a time and personalizes them with the name of the deceased. The pencil case itself turns into an urn.


“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, and if so, your ashes can be turned into a diamond ring by one company.


Andvinyly, a UK company takes the cremated ashes and presses them into 30 disks of 24 minutes of audio (which you supply) time to create vinyl records

.

Having a tattoo using ink incorporated with ashes of a deceased might appeal to some people, but not me. I’ll stick to traditional tattoo ink.


In conclusion, death doulas, although we have a non-funeral scope of practice, are a great resource for information related to death and burial/cremation options. Perhaps one of these cremation/post-cremation options intrigued you to do some further research or to have conversations with your family about your wishes.


Sources:

https://www.starsinsider.com/ The craziest alternative burial methods, 06/01/19

https://cremationinstitute.com/ 52 Beautiful Ideas Of What To Do With Ashes: Advice From A Widow

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/ ”Stop Scattering your ashes at Disney” say park employees, October 26, 2018

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