Body donation.

Those are the three options available for your post-life body. This is an easy place to start for getting your parting wishes down on paper. Don’t make your family guess, struggle to remember, or possibly argue over what they thought you wanted. Just put in in writing so it’s easy for them to carry out. In all honesty, this is the least you can do for your family… if you do nothing else, let them know your wishes for your body.

Burial can be in a grave or in a mausoleum/crypt. You’ll need some kind of box, be it a cardboard box or a fancy 5-star number, and if you can help your family with that decision, too, it’s a beautiful thing. Tell them if you want a viewing or not, and in either event, you’ll need an outfit, so go ahead and give them some suggestions, or at least guidance on the matter.

Cremation can be ridiculously simple— an immediate trip to the crematory in a cardboard box, or elaborate, with a viewing and a fancy casket. The end results are the same – your cremains (official name for a body’s ashes) delivered to your loved ones in some kind of container—once again, ranging from a coffee can to a museum-quallity urn. The options for what can be done with ashes is practically endless, with new offerings coming out all the time. A short sampling includes: made into jewelry; made into fireworks, mixed in an artificial coral reef, planted in with a root ball to grow into a tree; pressed into a vinyl LP, mixed in ink for a tattoo… and seriously, like a million more things. And of course, scattering over land or sea has always been a favorite method of disposition.

Body donation is both cost-effective and practical. The ultimate recycling. The laws and mechanisms for it vary by state, so search online for what your state offers. Typically, the body is picked up and brought directly to a medical or research institution, at little or no cost, and therefore unavailable for a viewing. (Also unavailable for organ donation, btw, except for corneas.) The institution will cremate the body when it’s done, and some will also ship the cremains back to the family, though know it can be up to two years later.

That was Body Disposition 101. Just the barest of information to get you started thinking about what you want. It’s not complicated. It’s 3 options: Burial, Cremation, and Body donation.

Make a choice and revel in the peace of mind that one important decision has been made!