Sleeping with the Fishes

Image10The BBC correspondent Heather Alexander highlighted a feature this morning on Breakfast Time television about the Eternal Reefs company in the US who, for a fee of up to $6,495 (£4,000), will incorporate the ashes of a loved one into a concrete pod that is designed to encourage marine life and coral once deposited 3 miles off the coast. So far, around 1,000 such reef balls have been dropped on the ocean floor.

Families and friends are invited and encouraged to attend and participate in the casting of their loved ones.  The process includes mixing the remains into an environmentally safe concrete reef mixture to create their Memorial Reef. According to the website, “Once the Memorial Reefs have been cast, family and friends are given the opportunity to put handprints and written messages in the damp concrete reef mixture. Many loved ones feel this is a wonderful way to stay in touch for eternity.”

I don’t regard this as reefer madness. The interviews with the relatives were very revealing about the way many felt that the deceased would still be alive as part of a living coral reef.  This is a manifestation of essentialism and mind/body dualism that is so typical of the supersense, but one with good ecological intentions. As manager George Frankel said in the interview, “It’s a win-win situation for the relatives and the fish.”04250027z


Filed under Essentialism, In the News

10 responses to “Sleeping with the Fishes

  1. I saw a report on this and immediately wondered what you would think about it.

  2. Bruce, I haven’t read Supersense yet, although it’s on my order list. I had heard of this form of “burial” and love the idea. It reminded me of a young coworker of who wanted to be close to her father and had a diamond created from his ashes. She now wears him around her neck.

    It’s fascinating how we retain mementos; I don’t exclude myself, for I have many.

  3. brucehood

    Welcome Pamela,
    So nice to have new visitors. Yes, I blogged about the memorial diamonds in an earlier post –

    Thanks for dropping by.


  4. If Ronald Schmidt ‘loved the sea’ and ended his days as part of it, I wonder how The IOC will choose to remember Michael Phelps when he eventually shuffles off this mortal coil?

    One of those blocks could be quite an obstacle to anyone in the centre lane during the 400m freestyle final.

  5. poietes

    I think that this is a wonderful idea. Better than burial plots, which I have not decided are archaic, although I love a good old cemetery.

    My dad was a seaman his entire life; I wish that this had been available when he died.

    Another interesting option for the deceased that is also becoming more popular is a “natural” burial. The deceased is placed in a thin wooden coffin and buried in a forest that is specifically used for this purpose. In this way, ashes to ashes and dust to dust becomes a reality. The soil is nurtured, and our loved ones become one with the earth again.

    I kind of like that idea.

  6. poietes

    By the way “not” in my first line should obviously be “now.”

    Yes. Yes, I know, Bruce. Typos always make my reading interesting and innovative.

  7. Arno

    “If Ronald Schmidt ‘loved the sea’ and ended his days as part of it, I wonder how The IOC will choose to remember Michael Phelps when he eventually shuffles off this mortal coil?”

    Arno… sorry but I am editing out your last comment as it could be misinterpreted:- bruce

  8. Hi Arno,

    I think we had our Phelps crossed. I was referring to Michael Phelps the swimmer; I presume that you thought i was talking about one of those frightfully nice chaps from the Westboro baptist church.

  9. Arno

    Whoops! Yep, definitely crossed! Sorry about that.

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