Flame or Water? Now you have a choice with cremation. A water, or ‘Green Cremation’, is done using water and potassium hydroxide, that reduces the body to the bone ash similar to flame-based cremation with much less impact to the environment.
I recently toured Bradsaw Funeral and Cremation Services in Stillwater, MN and was able to see their Green Cremation machine during my tour of the beautiful building and serene location. Michael Sorrell, one of the funeral directors at Bradshaw, explained the benefits of the eco-friendly Green Cremation.
The carbon footprint is what impressed me the most. The Green Cremation is 75.72% less carbon impact on the environment than traditional flame-based cremation and it uses 1/8 the amount of energy of other death preparation practices (Green Cremation brochure, Bradshaw Funeral and Cremation Services). Mercury and other particulates are not emitted into the environment during the water cremation. You still get ashes as you would with flame-based cremation; in fact, you get a bit more!
The process follows stringent guidelines, including the type of shroud you use (if you choose). The shroud must be 100% organic so it will decompose in the process. The photo below is a raw silk shroud. Funeral homes can guide you in this choice.
There is a peaceful viewing room adjacent to the cremation area. The water feature, soft lighting, and calm setting makes it a perfect place to say your final words to your loved one.
The grounds are in a prairie-like location and I was fortunate to have a bright blue sky above. I walked the labyrinth on site, and communed with the friends and family who have gone before me, then I sat awhile near one of the Columbariums. I took my time, soaking in the peaceful setting.
You have choices. You have traditional methods of burying your loved one, green burials, flame-based or water-based cremation, and in the state of Washington, you can even become compost. More on that later….
As with any service, it is wise to visit with funeral directors, tour their facilities, and become educated to your options. Your family will appreciate your forethought and it will save them the stress of making decisions in a time of mourning.
The labyrinth at Bradshaw (available to the public to walk)~