What do you want to be when you die?

The transition from 2014 to 2015 is a reminder of how when one era ends, another begins. It may be the same with human life: can we live on after death? Depending on your beliefs, you may believe in an afterlife or perhaps that it is possible to live on through a legacy of sorts. For most people, there are only two options that come to mind when thinking of what to do with their physical body after death—cremation or burial. But does that have to be the end of the story? There are actually many post-mortem options available that may just shock, terrify or excite you.

Your ashes can be pressed on a vinyl record. Photo by Christina Manocchio
Your ashes can be pressed on a vinyl record. Photo by Christina Manocchio

Vinyl Record

A legitimate company called www.andvinyly.com, provides you with a 10-step process to immortalize your life in the form of a working, audible record. In summary, you choose the audio and art content, attend the mastering of the record while alive, after your passing (Step 6 is “Die”) your loved ones attend the pressing of your ashes into the record and finally, you “Live on from beyond the groove!”.

Explosive fireworks

There are several companies that can turn your ashes into a colourful celebration that can be set off at a memorial service or in the privacy of your loved ones’ backyards. One international company, Heavenly Stars Fireworks, offers two minutes of explosions at over 100 feet for £249.99.

Shining diamonds

If you want to transform your corpse into something classy, you could become a diamond. One company, Heart in Diamond, requires 70 to 120 days to complete the process of turning your carbon into a personalized diamond. This option can get pricey though—they offer options that range from $875 to over $22,000 and that excludes the cremation fees and setting the certified stone in jewelry. For a cheaper option, you can become glass, whether that be pendant jewelry, marbles or even dishware.

Plant Food

You can always choose to simply decompose and give life to plants. Natural or green burials consist of simply placing the body in the earth – no coffin, no chemicals and often no marking above ground. Of the few cemeteries in Canada that offer green burials, one of which is near Toronto, Duffin Meadows Cemetery. There, grass isn’t mowed and no “tokens of remembrance” such as cut flowers can be left.

About 240 pencils can be made out of your body's ashes. Photo by Cody Hoffman
About 240 pencils can be made out of your body’s ashes. Photo by Cody Hoffman

Memorial Pencil

Whether you are a writer, artist or academic, perhaps turning your body into pencils is right for you. Nadine Jarvis, a designer of unique post-mortem solutions, has created the Carbon Copy. From your body’s ashes, about 240 pencils could be made and put into a wooden box for your loved ones to use one at a time. The sharpener built right into the box allows the shavings of the pencil to stay inside the box, which turns it into an urn over time. With each pencil personalized with the deceased’s name, your loved ones could remember you every time they need to write something down.

Shotgun Shell

Holy Smoke, a company based in Alabama, U.S., turns your ashes into bullets or shotgun shells. The company’s website reads “Let us help you take your loved one on one more hunt or one more round.” One pound of ashes gets you about 250 rounds.

Your DNA can be embedded in a tree to become a living memorial. Photo by Cody Hoffman
Your DNA can be embedded in a tree to become a living memorial. Photo by Cody Hoffman

Be sent into Space

Celestis is a company that can put your ashes into a tiny capsule and launch them into space. Your family and friends can attend the liftoff. Your cheapest option is to be shot into space and then parachute back down to earth which starts at US$995. If you want to be launched into “deep space”, the moon’s surface or a lunar orbit, it will cost you a minimum of $12,500. Fortunately, you have plenty of time to save up for your final send off!

DNA-embedded tree

You can literally have your Biopresence, an artistic and scientific initiative, takes using your body to nourish plants to a new level. According to its website, “Biopresence creates Human DNA trees by transcoding the essence of a human being within the DNA of a tree in order to create ‘Living Memorials’”.

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