Unique options for your final resting place - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Unique options for your final resting place other than 6 feet under

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PHOENIX -

When Halloween comes, you see ghosts, skeletons and caskets as decorations. It's all for fun, but it all represents the inevitable. Death.

While dying is something no one likes to think about, you or your family will have to decide what to do when a loved one passes.

But a final resting place doesn't have to be a cemetery.

More than 2 and a half million Americans died in 2011 according to the CDC. If millions of people are buried just in our country each year, that means coffins increasingly cover the planet.

But you don't have to spend eternity six feet under.

Myholysmoke.com will load your ashes into 250 shotgun shells or 250 pistol bullets.

The average cremated body creates 5 pounds of ash, but the Alabama based company only needs one pound. They'll charge about $950.

"At first it felt really weird to take her ashes and pour them into a bucket of cement," says Patti Goettl.

Patti Goettl thought this process was strange until she saw what came of her mother Shirley's remains. Her ashes were mixed with concrete and placed under the sea to help restore a damaged coral reef. A company called Eternal Reefs has provided this service for over 2,000 families.

It costs anywhere from $2,000 to $7,000. That's less than the average funeral cost of $7,045, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.

"We get fish life on these reefs literally the same day, so what we're really doing is creating a brand new habitat for all different types and species of marine life," says George Frankel, CEO Eternal Reefs.

"Her legacy was to be able to be buried in something that generated life," says Goettl.

Another option -- sending your loved one to space. Monica Keane's husband of 36 years proposed the idea during his battle against colon cancer.

"He said wouldn't be great if they released your ashes into space and our grandchildren can look up and say wow, that's our grandfather up there, he's stardust," says Monica Keane.

Celestis Incorporated will place ashes in a sealed capsule placed on spacecraft, then launch them into space. Prices range from about $1,000 to $12,000.

The ashes can stay in space or be returned after a trip out of earth. Mike's remains stay among the stars.

"I say oh you know Mike's ashes are up there somewhere so it's comforting," says Keane.

A generous soul donated this brain -- it's undergone a plastination process. Plastination Arts in Tucson is one of the few companies in the country that will take a dead body, replace water and fatty material in cells using acetone, and apply silicone polymer for preservation.

These remains are used to teach future doctors and scientists at Glendale Community College.

"We believe it's the very best way to learn anatomy and these specimens are really a lasting gift because they last so long," says Dr. Philip Fernandez, professor of biology Glendale Community College.

Plastination Arts is always accepting bodies. It's completely free.

Instead of your family visiting a tombstone they could visit a tree. A company called Bios Urns creates biodegradable urns -- they're filled with ashes and seeds then planted in the ground.

A Colombian industrial designer created the concept -- the urn costs $120.

"I'll never ever find anybody like him," says Julie Ochoa.

When Julie Ochoa lost her fiancé Ray to a sudden heart attack she decided to keep him forever over her heart. His ashes are in this tattoo ink.

"He kind of had to grind them up, even more into like a powder then blended it with the ink."

A 90-year-old man known to his friends as Pappi had his ashes poured down his Harley's gas tank and taken for a spin.

"His ashes just gummed up the fuel system. We all fired up our bikes, ready to go, we got about half a mile up the street and the bike stalled out," says Arthur Hisey.

His buddy Arthur Hisey says one last ride was worth ruining the bike.

"He did get his last wish which was to be run through his motorcycle one last time."

You may not want to sharpen it too often, but a London artist named Nadine Jarvis can turn your ashes into a pencil -- actually 240 of them.

This stunning diamond contains the ashes of valley sailor Christian Pike, after he was killed in action. Infinity Diamonds included his remains in a process that creates a diamond.

"What we do is we take carbon which is just a black powder, we compact it into graphite and from the graphite we put it in a machine that applies a million pounds per square inch until it basically grows carbon, atom by carbon atom. The longer we keep it in the machine it grows," says Scott Shaffer, founder and CEO of Infinity Diamond.

A California based company called Angels Flight can even turn your ashes into a full on fireworks display.

"Generally we take all of the remains and put them into the firework shells and then they're shot into the air as part of the service, usually to music," says Nick Drobnis, Angels Flight creator.

Costs range from about $4,000 to $5,200 and creator Nick Drobnis says the beachside setting is less upsetting than a funeral.

"They've watched an amazing fireworks display and that's that final image that they're going to keep."

A dazzling display, a reef that nurtures the seal and soul of a tree that allows you to keep growing with your family. Options that are arguably more comforting than a coffin.

Services mentioned in this story:

Bullets: myholysmoke.com/?nr=0

Reef Memorial: www.eternalreefs.com

Space Memorial: www.memorialspaceflights.com

Pencils: www.redesigningdeath.com

Tree Memorial: shop.urnabios.com

Diamond: www.infinitydiamond.com

Body Plastination: www.plastinationarts.com

Fireworks Display: www.angels-flight.net

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