Evolving Technology Impacts The Way We Deal With Death

By Paul Larson

MILLBRAE – Recently I came across a number of interesting items that could be game changing factors in the funeral and cremation field. A while back I wrote on information related to “Aquamation” or “Alkaline Hydrolysis” which is a new cleaner form of cremation that doesn’t discharge toxic pollutants into the atmosphere. Another new and developing alternative to cremation is “Cryomation”. According to the December 2011 issue of “Popular Science” magazine in an article titled “Cryomation Cryomator”, The Greenest Way To Go”:“A person’s carbon footprint keeps growing after death. Burial uses arable land, and cremation releases a body’s carbon into the atmosphere. The Cryomator instead chills the body with liquid nitrogen until it breaks apart and then freeze-dries the remains to remove water and kill microbes. The powder retains the body’s carbon, making the entire carbon impact of the process about 75 percent less than thatof cremation. The company is currentlybuilding its first commercial unit, which should be in operation before the end of 2012”.Each of the above processes are expected to arrive in the near future, but the legalities and laws surrounding the application of these new forms of disposition are still in the discussion phase with the state.

Another interesting item I read in the November 2011 National Funeral Directors Association magazine “The Director” was regarding a funeral home in Illinois that has partnered with their local Lions Club to help benefit those who are visually impaired. The funeral home urges families not to discard eye-glasses but rather allow the funeral home to receive and collect them. The Lions have several drop boxes throughout the area, and the funeral home is the single largest collection site. Frames and lenses are utilized by the Lions to provide free refurbished eyeglasses to those in need. Here in Millbrae the CHAPEL OF THE HIGHLANDS has been collecting eyeglasses in conjunction with the Millbrae Lions Club for decades. Donated eyeglasses are turned over to the Millbrae Lions Eyeglass Chair and then delivered to our Lions District 4-C4 for processing. If you have old or un-needed eyeglasses please bring them to the CHAPEL OF THE HIGHLANDS and I will turn them in to the Lions for refurbishing (please call us first when you are on your way). Your donation will help to give the gift of eyesight to those in need who are less fortunate.

In the same issue of “The Director” an evolving form of dealing with the loss of a loved one called “Cyber Mourning” has come to light. Through “social networking” websites such as “Facebook”, etc. family and friends log-on to express their feeling and memories just as they would during a “live” funeral. For those who communicate via electronic interaction, such as teenagers or computer savvy adults, “Cyber Mourning” is being studied to find if it can be helpful to some or isolating to others.

If you ever wish to discuss cremation, funeral matters or want to make pre-planning arrangements please feel free to call me and my staff at the CHAPEL OF THE HIGHLANDS in Millbrae at (650) 588-5116 and we will be happy to guide you in a fair and helpful manner. For more info you may also visit us on the internet at: www.chapelofthehighlands.com.