Archbishop Desmond Tutu planned himself an aquamation! Are you up on this new option for one’s remains? It’s essentially a water cremation. Instead of a body goTutu_funeral_shoting into flames, it’s dissolved in a chemical solution, and produces the same kind of ‘ashes.’ Also known as alkaline hydrolysis, it’s currently legal in only 20 states in the US, but is growing in popularity all over the world. It uses less energy than traditional fire cremation and doesn’t emit toxic gases, so is more eco-friendly. I’m all for more options — humans have vastly varying desires for what to do with their mortal remains. Learn more about it here.

That Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, also requested a plain pine box for himself in a simple setting is inspiring. No need for expensive, fancy farewell goods. He was much beloved, and funeral extravagance could not have increased all the honor and respect coming his way.

And remember, if you want something plain, simple, and low-cost — and it’s important to you! — there can be reluctance on the funeral home side ( respect and dignity seem to go hand-in-hand with expense) as well as with anyone choosing/planning for you (the guilt of cheaping out on you) so make sure you put measures in place to have your wishes followed. Not hard, just a step to take.