More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife covers many aspects of the dying and grieving process and sheds light on euthanasia, suicide, near-death experience, and spirit visits after the passing of a loved one. ___________________________________________

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cremation Alternatives - Pre-Need Planning and End of Life Decisions

by Melody Jamali

What do you want done with your remains when you pass away? There are many decisions to be made before you die and pre-planning for body disposal is an important decision among them. There are many cremation alternatives to chose from if you decide that either that or burial are not right for you, but it is important to make your wishes known while you're still alive. So, what types of funeral and cremation alternatives are there? In this day and age, there are quite a few alternatives to having your body cremated or the traditional burial in a casket.

Whole Body Donation

One of the ways that science has advanced over the years is because of donors. Not only monetary donations, but also whole body donations. If you are interested in doing something for the sciences after you're gone, you can make arrangements to have your body donated to science for research. Almost all bodies are accepted and most diseases are acceptable for research. When you donate your body to science, all that is required upon your death is that a call be placed to the company you have donated your body to. If you are worried about costs to your family, you needn't, because whole body donation is typically 100% free for the donor and all that your family will be responsible for is the memorial service.


If you want your body perfectly preserved in the chance that someday the technology to cure a disease or extend life will exist, then cryopreservation is the cremation alternative for you. The body, tissues and organs are preserved at sub-zero temperatures and are stored at facilities in chambers that maintain the freezing temperatures, preventing cell death. Though many believe that there will come a day when their bodies can be revived, there is not irrefutable proof on the matter. Cryopreservation is also very expensive since not only must the preservation take place, but proper storage must be provided at all times.


This environmentally friendly alternative to cremation or burial is a process involving water and alkali that breaks the body down over the course of two to three hours (virtually the same length of time as it takes to cremate a body) leaving behind a sterile liquid and bone ashes. The liquid is returned to nature, leaving only the ashes, which can be preserved in a cremation urn in exactly the same manner as cremains.

How is resomation a more eco-friendly cremation alternative to something that's already fairly green? Studies have shown that funerals that replace traditional cremation with the resomation process reduce the greenhouse gases emission by about 35%. If more people selected this procedure over cremation, the carbon footprint of the funeral industry could be drastically reduced. Plus, resomation currently costs around $600, which is significantly cheaper than cremation in the United States.

Corpse Composting

This procedure is not as simple as you might initially think. Bodies are not simply buried without a casket when corpse composting is used. It's actually a slightly complex technique in which the body is frozen using liquid nitrogen, then placed in a coffin, which is also frozen. Then the brittle frozen body and coffin are subjected to light vibrations. The vibrations shatter both and the result is a fine, organic powder. The powder then has any water, mercury and other metals removed. After all this, the result is a sterile powder that can be buried in the upper mulching layers of the soil. Full composting usually happens within 6-12 months after burial. You can use the composted remains as mulch for planting trees or even a memorial garden.

Melody Jamali is the Founder and President of ( Une Belle Vie ), a Colorado company dedicated to bringing choice of cremation to public light. Their company offers the widest selection in decorative urns for cremation and includes a wide collection of resources designed to help families and friends in their time of need. From tool for the grieving to informative articles about planning, support and other uplifting thoughts, Une Belle Vie is a company dedicated to helping your celebrate the life of the one you love - on your terms.
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For more information, you might enjoy reading my book, More Than Meets the Eye True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife. Purchase paperback on It's also on Amazon as an e-book for those who have Kindle or Sony Readers. The audio book is now available!
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Ginger Simpson said...

Thank you for sharing this post. As someone who is approaching the age where these types of decisions need to be made, I found this most helpful.

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Tim Little said...

Many times you can find cheap caskets online at greatly discounted prices be sure that it isn't a cheap Chinese imitation.

Amanda G said...

It is never too early to make certain that this decision is given some making your wants known you can have peace of mind that your loved ones won't have to think or plan for these things at a difficult time. I work with is a no cost program