Let's face it — we're all going to die. Making the choice between burial, cremation or donating your body to science can be difficult since, for many people, none of these options seems particularly attractive.
With new technology, however, that choice has become at least more interesting than ever before.
From turning your ashes into a vinyl record album that plays a post-mortem message from you to your fans, to becoming a tree by blending your DNA with that of a tree, you can leave your mark in some unusual ways these days.
“We work with lots of people who would like to be remembered in some positive way, so they provide for charitable funds to be given in their name in perpetuity after death,” said Nancy B. Anthony, president of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.
“Whether that makes them less fearful of dying, I could not say.”
Here are some ways we found for you to figuratively live on and haunt your family for years to come.
Shine bright like a diamond
The carbon from your ashes can be transformed into a beautiful diamond, either colorless, red, yellow, blue or green, by a company called LifeGem. It can set your bling in a ring, pendant or other “cremation jewelry.”
If you plan to be buried, you can still become beautiful jewelry after death. The company can make diamonds out of your hair instead.
Go out with a bang
Heavenly Stars Fireworks can send you out in a blaze of glory with a spectacular fireworks show made from your ashes. You can plan a professional display for your friends and family, or you can purchase self-fired tributes.
Be a tree
Bios Urn is a funeral urn made from biodegradable materials and filled with your ashes and a Pinus seed that will grow into a beautiful, leafy tribute to you.
Or, you can tree yourself using your DNA. Biopresence is a company that injects your DNA into the cell of a plant, which makes a new plant gene. Huh? From biopresence.com: “The goal of Biopresence is to introduce human characteristics to a plant, without changing the genes of the resulting plant.”
Your ashes can be blended into art mediums such as paint and tattoo ink. Commemorative tattoos that honor you can actually be made with you. That painting of your late great-grandmother hanging over the fireplace can actually be made from her. You can have a spectacular stained-glass creation made with your ashes. Or, The Carbon Copies project by Nadine Jarvis can turn your cremains into a set of 240 pencils stamped with your name, birth and death years. Write on!
Nobody will forget what you look like with an urn that looks exactly like you. Cremation Solutions offers a mold of your head that you can fill with your ashes, cookies or whatever. The company charges about $2,000 for the state-of-the-art imaging technique that rebuilds your visage into a one-of-a-kind receptacle.
You can spin your story however you want with a vinyl record album made from your ashes. Andvinyly will press your ashes into an album on which you can record your own soundtrack, your last will and testament or a personal message. You can have a personalized album cover designed with your portrait, or you can stick with the standard cover which reads “RIV” along with your name and birth and death years. Pets are also welcome at Andvinyly.
Become one with the Internet
With the popularity of social networking, it's no surprise that some morbid computer geeks came up with virtual solutions to death.
Lifenaut is a site that allows you to create an avatar of yourself that looks and talks like you and knows practically everything about you. Friends and family visiting your page can ask you questions, get your opinions and listen to you talk ad nauseam.
Dead Social will even send Facebook, Google+ and Twitter messages from you long after you die. You can send birthday and holiday wishes from beyond or just creep out your friends and family with invitations to play “Candy Crush Saga” or “Farmville” for all eternity.
First, a plaster mold will be made of your face and turned into a bronze mask for your sarcophagus. Then you'll be marinated in mummy solution for awhile. Next, your body will be massaged with anointing oil and wrapped up in gauze and silk. Summum is a Salt Lake City company bringing mummies back with modern mummification services that start about $67,000, unless you're very large or it's an unusual mummification of some sort.