Life After Death:


By: Grant Oyston

Cheer up! New industries have found a way to make yours a death worth dying! Illustration by/ Nick Ragetli

Cheer up! New industries have found a way to make yours a death worth dying! Illustration by/ Nick Ragetli Death can be a real bummer. “Passing away” is a misleading phrase, implying as it does that when you pass, you’re gone for good. If only it were so easy! No, while your eternal soul may pass freely into realms unknown, your earthly remains begin to let off a most unsavoury fragrance within a matter of days, if not hours—leaving your kith and kin to dispose of you before decomposition advances any further.

Tradition would have it that your body be cremated, buried, or left on a mountaintop for predatory birds to eat. But in this modern age of individuality, why limit your posthumous plans to such conformist arrangements? What other possibilities exist to celebrate your life and sustain your memory in perpetuity? After investigating potential options, the newspaper has compiled a novel list:

Keep on spinnin’

Will your loved ones remember you for your stellar mixtapes, or your smooth radio voice? Why not send them one final mix from beyond the grave?  UK-based And Vinyly will mix your ashes in with some vinyl, and press up to 30 records with music or vocal recordings of your choice for £3000 ($5000 Canadian). For a minimalist approach, you can also choose to leave the records blank, so playing them yields only the crackles and pops of your ashes.

Everything’s better under the sea

If the idea of your remains sitting on someone’s mantelpiece doing nothing forever depresses you, consider Eternal Reefs. Based in Decatur, Georgia, this company will mix your ashes into a concrete “Pearl,” and place it into the centre of a reef ball, upon which various types of marine life soon flourish, including coral. You get a 6” bronze plaque, and can include small mementos embedded in the concrete. Service starts at only $2000 US, cremation not included.

Baby, you’re a firework

Plastic bag no more—you can literally become a firework. Many companies, including UK-based Heavens Above Fireworks, will mix your ashes into their fireworks, simultaneously scattering your ashes and dazzling the gathered crowd, starting from around £1000 ($1680 Canadian). Alternatively, try their more affordable take-home model—they make the fireworks, and you take care of the launch yourself.

Make your relatives starry-eyed

If fireworks aren’t getting you high enough, why not fulfill your dreams of space posthumously? Celestis has been launching bits of dead people into the sky since 1997, including Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Assuming you’re willing to wait until their next scheduled launch, 1-7 grams of ash can be deposited into a specially designed spacecraft, and your loved ones can watch in awe as you’re fired off into space. Round trips start at $995, while Earth orbit is $4995, and lunar orbit is $12 500.

Ashes are a girl’s best friend

One of the best-known alternative options for memorialization is LifeGem—an artificial diamond created from human remains. Starting at $2690 US for a 0.10-0.19 carat diamond, this option isn’t cheap, but if the idea of a loved one wearing you around on their finger all day pleases you, you may want to try a new life as an artificial diamond. A wide variety of colours and styles are available to capture your personality.

Get revenge from beyond the grave

For the avid outdoorsy types, Alabama-based Holy Smoke will mix ash into ammunition, either for display or use—perhaps to kill the bear that killed you? A pound of ash produces 250 shotshells, although a range of ammunition choices is available to suit your preference. Starting at $950 US, going out with a bang has never been so affordable.

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