The need for real estate never ends, not even for the dead. Convention says that once you’ve ‘passed’ all you need is 6’ under. But actually there are lots of options for real estate even at that point.
Akin to the condo there’s the placement of your urned ashes in a mausoleum space. It’s not unlike being in a small eternal apartment, with those above and below you.
For the more solitary souls there is the conventional plot, which often holds your embalmed remains inside an elaborate casket, then placed in the ground inside a cement vault. The plot is designated by a stone slab that identifies who, what, when you were.
And for the rich and famous, who are use to all sorts of recognition, there is the comfort of knowing you can be placed in above ground crypts or in a mini temple built of marble and granite. Whether you are King Tut or JP Morgan you are building a monument, a mansion to your memory.
Then there are the nonconventional holding tanks for a cryogenic deep freeze, just in case science discovers a cure for cancer and learns how to safely defrost and revive your body.
In addition, there are other alternative placements for those ecologically and practically minded, who don’t want to take up more space or the earth’s resources with everything from dissolving caskets in group graves used for planting trees to mixing ashes into cement monuments used as reefs in the sea, to scattering your remains across a forest.
But when thinking about real estate for the departed, I am always reminded of a tale told by Mel Brooks about one of his actors who had to leave a shoot to attend the funeral of his father. The actor had his dad cremated and took his ashes to be delivered to the Hudson River in NY as per his father’s wishes. It was a blustery winter’s day and the actor on reaching the shore opened the urn, and said, Father I dedicated you to the waters of the Hudson.’ Only at that moment a gust of wind blew most of the ashes back onto the son’s coat. When Mel Brooks asked the man if he had fulfilled his fathers last request, the actor said that he had tried to brush most of the ashes off into the River, but that most of his father remains were now at the cleaners on 57th Street.
“There’s always a place …….. is there always space?”