Everything You Need to Know About Resomation 1

resomation

As a growing number of people become more aware of environmental issues and the impact our every action has on the natural world around us, greater emphasis is being placed on developing green alternatives for many of the processes which we take for granted. The funeral industry is no different, and there are a number of innovations currently being developed which aim to lessen the environmental impact of a funeral service. Resomation is a perfect example of this phenomenon and illustrates how new technologies are challenging long held traditions in order to reduce our environmental footprint and provide the public with options that limit harm to our planet.

Although the process of cremation, in one form or another, has been practiced for much of human history, resomation could soon prove an environmentally friendly response to many of the environmental concerns being expressed about the burial and cremation of our deceased. In order to give you a greater insight into how the process works and when it may become widely available, we’ve created this helpful guide to everything you need to know about resomation.

For more information on organising an eco-friendly funeral, read our dedicated article on the topic. There are plenty of environmentally friendly funeral directors whom we work with. Find them with just your postcode on this page.

resomation

The resomation process explained

Superficially, the resomation process is incredibly similar to modern cremation. In fact, up until the body is committed and passes from view, a resomation service would be no different from that of a normal cremation service. This means that many current crematoria will be able to install a stainless steel resomation tank alongside their existing cremation technology, meaning that they could become dual function in the future.

However, once the body is committed an entirely different process begins. The resomation tank, known as a resomator, is in fact a special type of pressure chamber that allows a body to be immersed in a special solution of potash lye and water – a process also known as alkaline hydrolysis. Gas powered steam generators than build the pressure inside the tank until the temperature rises to the required level and a chemical reaction takes place that separates the body into two distinct substances, usually over a period of three to four hours. These substances are an ash, consisting of calcium phosphate from the bones, and a bio-fluid that’s made up of salts, sugars, peptides and amino acids. While the fluid is drained off and disposed of, the ash can be collected and either kept in an urn or scattered, much like what happens currently following a cremation. This liquid is free of any genetic material.

The benefits of resomation

Resomation is considered better than modern cremation processes for a number of reasons, though its greatest benefit is a reduction in the amount of energy required to complete the process. Most research suggests that resomation consumes one third of the amount of energy that cremation does, while it also drastically lowers carbon and mercury emissions. Finally, it also provides a solution to many issues associated with burial, such as limitations on the amount of land available for burial sites and rising burial costs.

Legal status of resomation

As a new technology, the precise legal foundations surrounding the practice are yet to be fully defined and solidified. While at least eleven states in the USA have legalised the process and some provinces in Canada allow it, the majority of the UK is yet to legislate specifically on the matter. However, in Scotland, the Cremation and Burial Act 2016 has provided a clear platform for the introduction of resomation technology and it is worth noting that in England there seems to be no legal opposition to its implementation as long as it complies with all existing building and environmental regulations.

While it seems clear that resomation is a viable alternative to cremation, it remains to be seen whether it will be a popular one. Though trends in the funeral industry do suggest that people are prepared to depart from tradition and opt for more personalised funerals that reflect their own beliefs and preferences, it is not known how customers will react to the new technology.

Perhaps, as the issues facing traditional burial methods become more acute, we will see a shift towards more environmentally and space friendly methods like resomation, although only time will tell.

For more info on resomation and its legal status, check out this handy site.

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1 Comment

  1. LS, could you please inform how much pressure is being built up in the resomation tank. Thanks in advance.

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9 Creative Ways to Remember Someone Who Has Died 0

Ways to remember someone who has died

When you lose someone, one of the scariest things about it is the idea that you might forget them. Or that the memory of losing them will overshadow the happier times you spent together. The good news is this: you won’t forget them, ever. We promise. And there are ways of remembering someone who has died that can help you celebrate all the great things about them. Here are some suggestions…

 

9 special things to do to remember someone who has died

Not sure how to remember someone who has died? We hope you’ll find some inspiration here.

 

  1. Start a tradition for their birthday

Find something that helps you feel close to them, and do it each year. For example, you could:

  • Do something your loved one liked to do
  • Take a trip to a place that meant something to you both
  • Have a big family dinner and raise a toast – and invite their close friends
  • Light a candle for them in the evening

Build on what you know about them. Take a class in something they knew well. Go on their favourite dog walk. Take the day off and make all their favourite foods.

“My sister and I go to a 40s event on Mum’s birthday each year,” explains Rachel, a funeral arranger at our Aylesbury branch. “She was a child of the 40s, and it helps us remember how life would have been for her growing up.”

 

  1. Talk to them

Japanese wind telephoneWe all have things we wish we could tell people who are no longer with us. Why not just give it a try? You could wait until you have a quiet moment alone to say what you want to say aloud. Or visit their grave or scattering place to speak to them.

While this might feel a little odd at first, a lot of people find comfort in these talks. After the 2011 tsunami in Japan, one bereaved relative set up a disconnected ‘wind telephone’ in his garden so that he could talk to the family he lost. Since then, people from all over the area have come to talk to their loved ones.

 

  1. Take a trip 

Go somewhere your loved one always wanted to go, do something they always wanted to do. A once-in-a-lifetime trip can be a fantastic way for a family to heal together after a rough year.

 

  1. Keep something of theirs close by

Ash Glass Design's cremation glass mourning ringThis could be something as simple as wearing their jewellery or watch every day. Or clothing: a favourite shirt could be worn, turned into a cushion, or framed to make art. Believe it or not, there is also a company that turns the clothing of people who have died into teddy bears. 

Another (slightly more unusual) way of remembering someone special who has died is to get their ashes made into jewellery. Specialist craftspeople can suspend the ashes in glass or resin beads and place them in pendants, earrings, bracelets or rings. 

 

  1. Go big with a firework displayfriends scattering ashes firework on a boat

A memorial fireworks display can be a lovely way to remember someone special. Team it with plenty of friends and family, some of your loved one’s favourite music, and some toasty hot drinks for a unique and cosy celebration of life.

The important thing here is safety. Always buy your fireworks from a registered seller or licenced shop and check that they are suitable for home use. Make sure bystanders are standing back as far as is recommended for that firework. You can find more safety advice here.

What about balloon, lantern, butterfly and dove launches? Here, it’s important to do your research to minimise the impact on local wildlife and pets. Always use biodegradable materials.

 

  1. Get something dedicated to them

Not sure if the traditional park bench is the best way of remembering someone who has died? There are all kinds of alternatives…

  • For lovers of the performing arts, you can dedicate theatre, opera, or concert hall seats
  • Football ground seats are a great way to remember fans of the beautiful game
  • For music lovers, you can call in to your local radio station and dedicate their favourite song to them on their birthday
  • You can get a rose named in memory of someone special, and give cuttings to family and friends
  • Or dedicate a tree (or an acre of woodland) to them with the Woodland Trust

 

  1. Write to them

Writing a letter to remember someone who has diedWhen you’re struggling with something – anything – writing can be very therapeutic.  So, writing a letter to a loved one who has died can be a lovely way to feel connected to them and work through your grief. Letters can be kept or ‘posted’ by burying them at the grave or scattering site. Other ideas are placing them in a fire or even sending them down a river in boat form. 

Not much of a letter writer? You’re not alone. When writer Rax King tweeted about the emails she sent her dad after he died, thousands of other people came forward to say that they did the same. Or sent texts, or g-chat messages. While it’s best not to actually press ‘send’ on these (numbers can be reallocated to other people, email accounts closed) just the act of writing can bring comfort. 

 

  1. Support a cause that mattered to them

Is there a cause your loved one cared deeply about that you could support? Or would you like to raise money for a charity that fights their final illness, or supports families like yours?

One of the best ways to remember someone who has died is to build something positive with their legacy. You could…

  • Set up an online crowdfunding obituary that asks friends and family to donate
  • Organise a fundraiser or do a charity run to raise money
  • Sign up to donate a small amount each month in their memory
  • Set up a scholarship or endowment at their old school, college or uni
  • Launch a charitable trust or foundation of your own to lobby for a cause
  • Sponsor a child (or even an animal) through a charity

 

  1. Visit their grave or scattering place

Forget-me-not flowersYour loved one’s grave, or the place where their ashes were scattered, can feel very meaningful. There’s comfort to be had in just giving yourself some time to sit with them there. 

If you like, you can also bring a wreath, bouquet or (land owner permitting) something to plant. In Victorian times, people would often use flowers to send messages: each one had a special meaning. This old mourning custom is still a lovely way to express how you feel. E.g. rosemary for remembrance, white periwinkle for happy memories, an oak-leaved geranium for true friendship or marigolds for grief. 

Then again, a bouquet of your loved one’s favourites is an equally thoughtful gesture. At natural burial grounds, where planting rules are strict, a scattering of native wildflowers can also be a beautiful way to remember someone who has died.

 

Share your favourite ways to remember someone who has died

How do you remember the special people you’ve lost? Share your suggestions with other bereaved families in the comment section below. We’d love to hear your stories.

10 Funny Funeral Poems for an Uplifting Service 0

Michael Ashby's A Long Cup of Tea, a funny funeral poem

‘Funny funeral poems’ might sound like a bit of a contradiction. But humour isn’t always out of place at a farewell. When we celebrate someone’s life, we celebrate all of it, all of the best things about them — and that can mean laughter as well as sadness.

Here, we’ve gathered together 10 popular funny funeral poems to inspire you. We hope you’ll find something your loved one would have giggled at.

 


Amy Roper's Pardon Me For Not Getting Up, one of our top 10 funny funeral poemsPardon Me For Not Getting Up by Kelly Roper

There’s puns galore in this poem by Kelly Roper, writer and hospice volunteer. It’s a popular light-hearted reading, especially in funerals for people who were always taking care of others.

Told from the perspective of someone who has died, Pardon Me For Not Getting Up asks funeral guests to excuse them from hosting this time — and asks them to go ahead and celebrate their life nevertheless.


 A Long Cup of Tea by Michael Ashby

Michael Ashby's A Long Cup of Tea, a funny funeral poem

Is this the most British funeral poem of all time? Perhaps. Full of sly jokes (‘Please pick the biggest mug you can find / Size really does matter at this time’) Michael Ashby’s funeral poem is perfect for someone who loved to kick back with a cuppa. And who doesn’t?


The Busman’s Prayer by Anon

The Busman's Prayer, one of our top 10 funny funeral poems
This parody of the Lord’s Prayer is one of the more original non-religious funny funeral poems. The version here is ideal for born-and-bred Londoners, but there are also versions for retired policemen and women (‘The Law’s Prayer’) and people in Derbyshire around.

You can, of course, also write your own. Simply swap out the London locations for local landmarks with a similar sound.


Death by Joe Brainard, one of our top 10 funny funeral poemsDeath by Joe Brainard

This wry, matter-of-fact poem by Joe Brainard has a lot of simple truth in it. And some very black humour. Noting that visualising death might help us not to be afraid, he adds:

“Try to visualize, for example, someone sneaking up behind
your back and hitting you over the head with a giant hammer.”

If your friend or relative was a straightforward sort of person with an appreciation for the darker variety of jokes, this could be the one.


Warning by Jenny Joseph

Jenny Joseph's Warning, one of the best funny funeral poems for mums.
This playful and funny funeral poem is all about how old age can be liberating — and how we’d act if we could just please ourselves all the time. It’s a wonderful funeral poem for anyone who spent their later years living life to the full.

It’s also an excellent message for us all: don’t let respectability get in the way of doing all the (silly) things that make you happy.


On a Tired Housewife, one of our top 10 funny funeral poems

On a Tired Housewife by Anon

This anonymous poem has something of a dark backstory. But it’s now one of the nation’s favourite comic poems.

In it, the reader explains that after a lifetime of hard work, she’s actually looking forward to a restful eternal sleep. This makes it one of the more fitting funny funeral poems for a friend or parent who was always busy looking after their family.


Untitled jisei by Moriya Sen’an

A jisei (death poem) by Moriya Sen'an
For some time, it was traditional in Japan for some people (the elite, samurai and monks in particular) to write short poems shortly before their death. Many of these jisei are beautiful and contemplative. Others, like this one, are comically frank and can have a place in funny funeral speeches.


Death by Sean Hughes, one of the best funny funeral poemsDeath by Sean Hughes

This poem, which describes Sean Hughes’ idea of a good funeral, is ideal for any ‘celebration of life’ style funeral service.

With free drinks and new friendships being forged, it actually does sound like a great way to send someone off. The poem was in fact read at Hughes’ own funeral.


I Didn’t Go To Church Today by Ogden Nash

I Didn't Go to Church Today, one of our top 10 funny funeral poems by Ogden Nash
In this quietly comic poem, the narrator explains why he skipped church that morning: the day was too beautiful not to spend at the beach. It’s a sweet piece about appreciating a perfect moment.

Although light-hearted, the poem does have comfort for those at a funeral. As Nash shares, God will likely understand. After all, ‘He knows when I am said and done / We’ll have plenty of time together’.


Last Will and Testament by Will Scratchmann

Last Will and Testament by Will Scratchmann, one of the best funny funeral poems
This short-but-sweet piece by Will Scratchmann could be a funny funeral poem for a dad. But behind the humour is a positive message about what we want for our loved ones after we’re gone. Not a lifetime of sadness, but a lot of joy (and parties!) in time.


 

One last note on funny funeral poems…

Giving a ‘funny’ reading at a funeral can be a bit nerve-wracking. What if it goes down badly? The best thing to ask yourself is what the person who has died would have thought. Does the poem sound like them? Is it something they might have found funny? After all, the day is all about them. And if you need advice on public speaking, take a look at our top tips from funeral celebrants.

Didn’t find the right funeral poem today? Not to worry. We have a round up of 33 beautiful non-religious funeral poems here to help you in your search.