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Dilemma Even in Death

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Cremation or a coffin? It’s a quandary that many Baby Boomers now ponder. If you live in New Mexico there’s another option to the tradition funeral. You can donate your bones to science. The Maxwell Museum at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque will take your body. They have the world’s largest collection of contemporary bones in the world. The museum won’t pick you up, so arrangements need to be made ahead of time. Once the body donation arrives the most typical way to harvest the bones is to cut off as much flesh as possible. The remains are then laced in a vat with a toxic solution that slowly dissolves away the remaining tissue. The dissolving solution is changed a couple of times over the course of a few weeks to fully remove the muscle and sinew of each body.   

Try a Funeral Pyre

Funeral pyres at the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal.

If you’ve been considering cremation there’s another option close by. In the neighboring state of Colorado the city of Crestone has the only sanctioned open-air pyre in the United States. Throughout the world the Hindu, Buddhist and Jainism faiths all believe in reincarnation. Once a person dies the soul leaves to become another living organism based on karma, their fate based on the actions they practiced in life. Those who lived a good life would be reborn to a higher realm. The Hindu also believe that death doesn’t take place until the skull is split open by the extreme heat of the pyre.