Your Ashes Can Help Build A Reef In The Gulf
I’ll just say it, this is the coolest way to leave this life. Imagine your friends and loved ones getting together, cruising out into the Gulf, having a thoughtful ceremony and then lowering your memorial into the warm, blue waters. The process is fascinating, and it’s a beautiful way to honor and thank the planet for a fantastic life. Just off the coast of Sarasota, hundreds of people have already found their eternal resting place. The best part? They are creating new life just by being there.
Many families are still old school about funerals and burials, but the trend is moving away from such things and toward “green” goodbyes. Imagine your ashes being mixed with concrete and various items that were important to you. Those memories are then encased in an outer shell of concrete and turned into a “reef ball”. Family members are encouraged to add special items to the memorial if they’d like. The ball is then taken out to sea, along with your family and friends. After a celebration of life ceremony onboard, the ball is lowered into the warm waters and comes to rest on the ocean floor, forever looking up at the blue sky through the sea life. The memorial becomes part of an artifical reef system. Now doesn’t that sound magical? For those among us who love the water, it just seems perfect.
The company behind the process is Eternal Reefs and they’ve been doing green burials for years. They say an onboard dedication ceremony is held every time a “reef ball” containing a loved one is lowered into the artificial reef. They say loved ones feel a sense of closure and happiness in knowing that the person who left them is in a beautiful and serene place. Reef balls can experience growth of coral and other sealife on them within 6 weeks. A representative from Eternal Reefs says the ingredients are all natural and safe for the Gulf. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designated the area for the memorial, meaning that the reef balls are placed in areas where they will do the most good. And if you’re wondering about how much space is available, less than 1% of the space allotted has been used. The burial site is located about a mile off the coast of Sarasota.
Here’s the crazy part…since Eternal Reefs is a non-profit organization, the entire $3,500 to $8,500 (depending on site chosen) can be used as a charitable tax deduction! Why? Your memorial becomes public property after it becomes a permanent part of a reef site. I know I may be over-selling this, but it has struck a chord with me. While I wasn’t born in the Bay area, it has become my second home. Would you do this? Source: WTSP.com
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