2011-03-02 “The Future”

I’ve talked about the “rubber stamp” funerals of days gone by and how much change I’ve seen in the last thirty years.  Last year when I was in Toronto I listened to a Funeral Director talk about his job becoming just as much an “Event Planner” as a “Funeral Director” and that would be confirmed in some of the recent articles that I have read.  Across the border in Indianapolis, a Funeral Home has taken the name of a “Community Life Centre” and hired a Special Events Coordinator.  They now have ninety-nine weddings booked which will take them into 2012.  As one bride to be was quoted:  “At first, when I pulled up and saw it was a funeral home, it did concern me.  But when we walked in and saw everything, it was overwhelming.  I fell in love and thought it was the perfect place, so the funeral home aspect didn’t cross my mind again”. 

In London England, the lack of cemetery space and income is becoming an issue.  One of the cemeteries there is proposing to open a flower shop, a restaurant, an online records service and an area where pets could be commemorated to increase its income.  As well, they are seeking approval for new methods such as cryomation, promession and resomation.  “In cryomation and promession, liquid nitrogen is used to chill the body to -196 degrees until it is so brittle that it can be crushed, cleaned and freeze-dried to remove moisture ahead of composting.  No smoke, no pollution.  In resomation, which has already been licensed in some parts of the United States, the body is submerged in an alkali solution which, at 160 degrees dissolves it in about three hours, leaving behind a green-brown liquid and a white dust”.

There’s a part of me that wants to pull back the reigns and say slow down, but I’m sure that’s probably the same reaction that a lot of people had when cremation was first introduced and now that’s the option that 40% us will choose.  Who knows what the next thirty years will bring…