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Looking for something new to do with your loved ones …?

This may not be the cheeriest blog I’ve ever written, and for that I apologise, but you know how these things are. I start reading something and then my mind works overtime and I need to know more! In this case I was thinking about cremated remains and what to do with them!

On the record
The item that caught my eye was a piece about Madge Hobson and her son, John. John has a vinyl record that plays a recording of conversations with his late Mum. It’s mostly small talk. So what, you may think. Well, Madge’s ashes, approximately a teaspoon of her cremated remains, have been combined with the vinyl, so when John listens to his Mum chatting, part of her is actually present.

The discs are produced by Vinyly. Each contains a photo and details of the deceased’s life.

Physical memorials to our loved ones are becoming increasingly popular. Once upon a time, you could have a stone in a cemetery, a bench overlooking the sea, or you could be stowed in an urn on the mantelpiece, and that was about it. Nowadays there are numerous ways your cremated remains can be disposed of, and you can be uniquely remembered.

At Vinyly, human and pet cremated remains can be added to the vinyl making process when the disc is in production. Jason Leach, the founder of the company, notes that “It’s a balance between adding enough ashes so as to be seen, but not so much as to affect the grooves’ smooth playing.” The ensuing crackles you can hear when you listen to the record, are your deceased’s remains. The basic package starts at £900, and you can choose from 7-inch or 12-inch, clear or coloured vinyl.

Go potty

For when you’ve ‘urned’ a good rest. Geddit?

If you don’t fancy being on record, or if you won’t have anyone who would want to listen to it, what else can you do with your cremated remains? Ceramics is an option, with ashes mixed into the resources used to create pottery. The ashes can be mixed into the clay, or the glaze, and can be used in the creation or urns, vases, mugs, bowls – even coffee cups. Prices from £150.

Go out with a bang
My personal favourite has to be a firework. Talk about going out with a bang! Hunter S. Thompson, author of the novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and a journalist who worked on a number of newspapers and magazines before becoming famous with his book about the Hell’s Angels committed suicide in February 2005. It was known that he wanted his cremated remains scattered by firework, and Johnny Depp, paid for that to happen. His ashes were fired from a cannon on top of a 153-foot tower. As the cannon fired, Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit in the Sky and Bob Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man played. Red, white, blue and green fireworks were launched along with the ashes.

Shine bright like a diamond

Increasingly common, but diamonds are forever …

There are a number of companies that can turn your cremated remains into a synthetic diamond. A diamond is 99.9% carbon, while the human body is only 20%. Post-cremation 1-5% of carbon remains. The natural process that creates a diamond (high pressure and high temperature within the earth) is replicated in a laboratory and takes a few weeks. Prices start at £2,800.

Return to the earth
You might consider using your cremated remains as compost. ‘Living urns’ consist of ashes mixed with other nutrients which are then used to grow a plant or a tree.

Tattoo you

A unique memorial …

Yes, as bizarre as it sounds (to me at least) it is possible to have ashes mixed in with tattoo ink, and then tattooed on your body. It’s a memorial for life, that’s for sure.

Hug it out

Ashes in your teddy bear?

There are a number of companies who create a soft toy, or stuffed animal, with special compartments that hold cremated remains.

To the moon (and not back?)
It is now possible to have some of your remains taken into space. The first outing of crem remains in space, fittingly belonged to Gene Roddenberry who created Star Trek in the 1960s. A NASA space shuttle Columbia carried some of Gene Roddenberry’s cremated remains into space and returned them to Earth in 1992.

The final frontier

The first person to be buried on the moon was Dr. Eugene Shoemaker who was an American geologist and one of the founders of the field of planetary science. His cremated remains were flown to the Moon by NASA in 1999.

James Doohan, who played Scotty and died in 2005 was launched into space by the company Celestis, who specialise in space burials, in 2007 and 2008. Celestis offer one-way and round tickets.

Did you know that the funeral industry is estimated to be worth £1billion annually? Over 600,000 funerals take place each year, split between approximately 4,000 funeral directors. Apparently, because the industry is unregulated, anyone can enter it, and exact numbers or income is unknown.

Over to you
What do you fancy happening to your ashes when you’re gone? Leave a comment below or come and join the conversation on Facebook 🙂.

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