7 Innovations to Make Funeral Planning Suck Less


By Tré Miller Rodriguez for Modern Loss

Unless Funeral Director is your career choice, it isn’t an area where anyone wants to gain expertise. Yet like many of you, my skillset includes funeral planning: I’ve planned a funeral for my teenage brother; for several friends and relatives; and for my 40-year-old husband. My only qualifications at 19 for organizing my brother’s funeral were that I’d recently worked for a florist and I’d once gone to a concert with a dude whose family owned the local funeral home.

By the time I planned my husband’s service 15 years later, I had experience in creating worthy send-offs. And since his 2009 death, I’ve encountered companies with niche alternatives to the tired or tacky products pushed by funeral homes. I now save a list of these resources because when you’re living through the worst week of your life, who has the bandwidth to explore Pinterest-level designs for funeral programs? Or compare environmentally conscious options for cremation?

While the innovations below won’t put the “fun” into “funeral”—um, nothing will—they can help us personalize the last party we’ll ever throw for our loved one (or ourselves).

  1. Sleep with the fishes. Through Eternal Reefs, you can actually create a marine habitat from cremains. Family and friends are invited to mix ashes into the concrete of the reef structure and personalize it with handprints or messages written in the wet concrete. This option includes an inscribed bronze plaque, a dedication ceremony at sea, and, ostensibly, a bunch of grateful fish.

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