Designer Funerals: The Final Getaway
Baby boomers face the inevitable -- with posh caskets and funky funeral services.
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
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
They're putting the "fun" back into funeral
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
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.
Your casket is the centerpiece for your final party.
"It's about commemorating a life, not just mourning a
death," says Fant. "Maybe the deceased was a veteran, or was very
religious, or maybe they just loved the mountains or the ocean."
Humor is big, with tongue-in-cheek motifs such as the "Last
Hole" casket for golf aficionados.
There's the "Return to Sender" casket. "People walk
in and say, 'Well, that's Bob.'"
"This is the generation that permanently changed a lot of
ways we do things. This generation put the father in the delivery room. That
same influence over the way birth occurs -- that influence is being felt in the
way death is being celebrated," says Fant. "They're saying, 'let's go
out with some style. For heaven's sake, make a statement.'"