Zest in Peace

There are more options than ever for memorializing your loved one.

Photo courtesy of Reef In Peace

Living reef memorial by Reef in Peace, which has a memorial site in Virginia Beach.

Losing a loved one is a universally painful experience. However, as society has changed, so have the ways we say farewell to our loved ones and honor their memories. In recent years, families have shifted away from traditional funerals and cemetery burials, and instead are taking more control over the process and personalizing it for their loved one.

“We do see more families today that want to do things themselves and be part of the process,” says Carey Bliley, owner of Bliley’s Funeral Homes in Richmond. “So much healing comes from being an active participant. Our facilities are built with the idea that families can be present during cremation, and we want to encourage families to do that,” Bliley says.

Plus, there are now more final rest options than ever before. The choices are no longer just burial or cremation; some states have seen an increasing popularity of new cremation technologies, such as bio cremation, which uses a combination of water and an alkali solution of potassium hydroxide to break down the body. Other places allow green funerals, where the body nourishes plant life, or living reef memorials. Ashes can be pressed into a diamond or a record album, incorporated into fireworks, or shot into space. However, many of these are not yet permitted in Virginia. 

“We certainly try to work with all families’ requests and try to make things happen according to their wishes,” Bliley says.

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