The Sage Connection

You can become a tree


Everyone is getting older in my house. My oldest daughter will be 60 in a couple of months. All four of my children are in their 50s, and I even have a grandchild in her forties.

I no longer have to remember to ask for a senior discount – now they ask me if I would like one.

So, what comes next?

Although no one wants to talk about it, what logically comes next, is a plan for when I am no longer here.

Death means different things to all of us. Loss of a loved one, to be sure, but there is more – much more to be considered. Hopefully, I just won't wake up one morning but, until the time comes, no one knows for sure what to expect.

Time becomes more precious. My goal is to spend it with those who matter and what brings me enjoyment. Not wasting it on people or 'stuff' that annoys or upsets me is even more important. 

I don't spend a lot of time thinking about my end, but I have some plans for when the time comes.

My family knows what I want after I'm gone. There are many options today. Burial, of course, and cremation, but also one that interests me the most. Urns Northwest offers another option:

Grow a tree from ashes with these eco-friendly burial tree pod kits

This idea has appealed to me from the first time I heard about it. My love for trees is well known to my family and the idea of being a part of one really speaks to me.

This company provides instructions, the correct tree seed for your zone and everything else you need to accomplish the planting. When you grow a tree from ashes, you're planting a seed (or a sapling) and mixing the ashes into the soil so that your loved one's remains are used to nourish and grow the tree.

The problem is that the ph level of cremated remains is like ashes. So, the tree-growing kits and burial pods are all made using a biodegradable container that neutralizes the ph level in the cremated remains. The urn will also typically have some sort of fertilizer or growth medium as well.

For more information, go to

Here is my granddaughter's choice – The Mushroom Suit

With all the focus on reducing our carbon footprint in our lifetime, most of us forget that we continue to have a significant impact on the environment long after we die, thanks to our toxin-riddled funeral industry.

But a team of designers has come up with a more eco-friendly option - a jumpsuit woven from a mushroom-spore-infused thread called the Infinity Burial Suit.

Also known as the 'mushroom death suit', the idea is that the mushrooms will begin to grow from your body once you've been buried, slowly digesting you, while neutralizing any environmental contaminants you harbor - such as pesticides, heavy metals, or preservatives - in the process.

First announced to a lot of controversies five years ago, the suit will officially go on sale as early as April this year, with the first test subject already locked in.

The suit relies on the power of mycoremediation, which is the ability for mushrooms to clean up toxic contaminants in the environment. "I was inspired by the idea that mushrooms are the master decomposers of Earth and thereby the interface organisms between life and death," artist and co-creator of the suit, Jae Rhim Lee, told Fast Company. Click here for more.

Last but not least, a useful tip for those who travel:

The Travel Protection Plan

The Travel Protection Plan by Inman Worldwide offers you lifetime coverage for a one-time payment of $450 per individual. The plan covers all expenses to repatriate a person who has died away from home. It includes domestic and international coverage.

Who should consider enrolling in a Travel Plan?

If you regularly travel for pleasure or business, the travel plan will give you peace of mind and will be of invaluable benefit to your surviving family. Once death occurs, Inman Worldwide will handle all arrangements to return the deceased home. 

Or arrange a cremation at the place of death, and return the cremated remains to the family. No stress for the family. Everything is taken care of by Inman. (In consultation with family members)

Whatever appeals to you, make sure your wishes are known beforehand, preferably in writing or by video, so everyone involved in the arrangements is on the same page.  

Then relax…and enjoy the time we have left.

Kathleen Anderson writes this column each week from her home in Olympia.  Contact her at or post your comment below. 


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