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Health & Balance

Designer Funerals: The Final Getaway

Baby boomers face the inevitable -- with posh caskets and funky funeral services.
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WebMD Feature

It's grisly, it's ghoulish, this thought of impending death. The coffin, the cemetery, the very word putrification -- a perfectly natural process -- makes us shudder.

And funerals. Must they be somber notes at the end of a life well lived?

Heavens no, say baby boomers.

Today, people are adopting the spirit long-held by New Orleans jazz musicians and by the Irish: They celebrate death. They party. They go out in style.

They're putting the "fun" back into funeral services.

Check out the Internet -- infinite ideas for funky funeral service alternatives are out there. You can get mummified or freeze-dried (called cryonics). There are online pet funeral parlors, online memorials, do-it-yourself funerals, even funeral service caterers.

You can arrange a fireworks ceremony for your cremated remains. Even shoot your ashes into space.

Your favorite sports arenas -- where you rested your butt for endless games -- can even be your final resting place. Imagine it: your ashes scattered over that pricey Super Bowl seat.

And best of all, you can plan it all ahead of time. Make sure it's done your way. It's that final mail-order splurge, the best deal you can find on an Internet search. A final chance to max out that credit card -- for your final getaway package.

Caskets With Flair

Your love of art, football, even the hours spent perfecting that golf swing -- they can all be part of your good-bye.

Pat Fant runs a company that creates "art caskets."

"I was planning a service for an aunt, and it occurred to me that it was all very ordinary, what we were doing for her," he tells WebMD. "It seemed so inappropriate, because she was such a unique, special individual, yet the whole service looked so plain and ordinary. It got us on the subject of talking about ... what if the casket itself had personality?"

Art caskets are "not flashy," he tells WebMD. "They're different, and that's what they're meant to be." It's a photo-laminate process covering an 18-gauge steel casket, "priced right, very reasonably," and delivered overnight to the funeral home of your choice, when it's time for the funeral service.

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