Cremation tops burial in NJ, and funerals are getting more creative too
"Just stick a bone in me and let a dog bury me in the yard."
This was my grandfather's very gruff take on what should happen to him when he died. He basically felt a funeral was a party you weren't going to actually be attending, so who cares?
Turns out a lot of people. Funerals are getting more and more personalized and creative. I started thinking about this after reading Dino Flammia's story on how cremation is now more popular than burial in New Jersey. 51% to 49%. Same for national trends. Two years in a row cremations outpaced burials.
There's so much more to consider though, such as do you want to rep your favorite sports team at your sendoff? Yes, people do this. In 2005 a funeral home in Pittsburgh received an unusual request. Could they set up a viewing not with a casket but with the deceased propped up in a recliner, a beer in his hand, in front of a tv set playing loops of past Steelers games? Sure, of course they could! And so James Henry Smith had his wish in death. What did it look like? See a photo of his unusual viewing here.
Next you can decide if you want a regular coffin or something a little special, such as a KISS coffin. As in the rock band, KISS. They say Pantera's Dimebag Darrell is buried in one of these, and inside his KISS casket with him for all eternity is said to be Eddie Van Halen's guitar. Check out that strange funeral story here.
The Daily News ran a gallery of other unusual funerals and viewings, such as this one of a man who wanted to be propped standing up while dressed like The Green Lantern, and this one of a taxi driver who didn't want to give up the wheel.
Back to more reasonable considerations. What about music? Is there a certain song you'd want played at your funeral? I always thought a song by the Alan Parson's Project called "Old And Wise" would be perfect.
And to those I left behind
I wanted you to know
You've always shared my deepest thoughts
You follow where I go...
And someday in the mist of time
When they ask you if you knew me
Remember that you were a friend of mine...
What about yours? Would it be My Way by Frank Sinatra? Or something more along the lines of Highway To Hell by AC/DC? Hey, I don't judge!