The phone call and invite went out the Sunday before. The family kept their fingers crossed that the weather remained fair. Grandma had died nearly a year ago, she had left a gaping hole in everyone’s hearts then, just as life was returning to normal, the Coronavirus pandemic had arrived. However, this call lifted everyone’s spirits. After her cremation, the family had chosen to place Grandma’s ashes in a unique urn by The Eternity Tree and to plant a cherry blossom (Grandma’s favourite tree) above it in the family garden. She adored the way they blossomed and in the summer months, used to sit in its shade with her husband.
The gathering was socially distanced. The usual nibbles were present as was a pleasant selection of white wine and gin and tonics. The family gathered around the table and raised their glasses. “Welcome home, Grandma” was recited by all. They were pointed towards the cherry blossom that, although still a sapling, had blossomed for the first time. Tears were shed but the overwhelming response was one of unity in feeling that their beloved Grandma’s memorial had indeed brought her back to them in a rather unique way. Simply beautiful.
Back to our family mentioned at the beginning of this piece. Every year, they will have a beautiful memorial to view whenever they wish, safe in the knowledge that their ‘Grandma’ is providing a valuable resource in sequestered carbon dioxide back to the planet.
In the UK annually, there are around 500,000 deaths, of which 475,000, or 95 percent, result in cremation. Over the past ten years, cremations have surpassed burials as the most popular end-of-life option according to the National Funeral Directors Association.
Cremation is often marketed as a more environmentally friendly option than traditional embalming and casket burial. Concern for the environment, in addition to economic considerations, may be driving some of the increase in popularity, but there are still environmental effects to consider. Cremation requires a lot of fuel and results in millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. The average cremation takes up about the same amount of energy and has the same emissions as about two tanks of petrol in an average car. The carbon dioxide produced by an average cremation is 550lbs. A typical mature tree sequesters 50lbs of carbon dioxide annually, therefore taking one tree roughly eleven years to offset the carbon footprint of a cremation.
Roughly 60% of families are uncertain as to what to do with their loved one’s remains once the cremation has passed, with an estimated 250,000 sets of ashes lying unclaimed at funeral directors across the UK. With rising costs of memorial plots and the ever-increasing costs of funerals, this figure is soaring annually.
Many choose to scatter the remains at a park or favourite spot, in the belief that they are returning their loved one to nature and benefitting the environment. Sadly, this is not the case. Human cremated remains are, in fact, incredibly hazardous to flora and fauna, being highly alkaline at an average pH of 11.8. It is for this reason that many wildlife parks and trusts have now banned the scattering of ashes. In this environmentally ravaged day and age, we can no longer afford to destroy our wildlife. Quite the contrary, we are in a daily battle to preserve our wildlife and indeed our very existence.
And so, The Eternity Tree was born. We developed the world’s first bio-neutralising urn. This unique urn, manufactured by us, houses your loved one’s ashes and is then planted in the soil with a tree of your choice above it. As the rain falls, the urn immediately begins the breaking down process, neutralising the ashes to a pH of between 6 and 7, depending on regional soil variations, turning the resulting mass into a rich compost, capable of being absorbed into the neighbouring sapling. Thus, your loved one’s remains actually inhabit the roots and branches, bringing life back to nature and in turn, the planet. The Eternity Tree also invest money with each sale into selected green charities around the UK, boosting tree planting around our beautiful countryside. The unique urn, The Eternity Seed, comes in three sizes, allowing families the choice of splitting the remains, allowing families to gift to several children or grandchildren a beautiful memorial.
Prices start at just £249, compared to some memorial plots costing in excess of £10,000. Plus, there is no ground rent to pay, which can leave your family with an awkward bill in the years to come in order to maintain their memory.
The Eternity Tree can work with any Funeral Director in the UK, and also can be contacted direct on 03300 583290. Why not visit our website at www.theeternitytree.com, check out our choice of trees and read some of our testimonials.