Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Joan and Clyde West conceived their novel new business over a somber dinner discussion. “Clyde said, ‘I don’t want to be buried. Just put my remains in a balloon and send it on up,'” Joan recalls.

In January, the Crystal River, Fla., couple launched the Eternal Ascent Society, offering burial “flights” to the grieving. After a funeral home cremates the remains, Clyde pours them into a helium balloon encased in a custom-made Plexiglas-and-vinyl carrier. Then it’s off to the wild blue yonder, all for about $150 (flowers and photos cost extra). A black cat, Midnight, made the charter trip.

The Wests reached a milestone in March when, says Joan, “we did our first human.” Mourners gathered with the Wests to honor a middle-aged woman’s final request: a flight to heaven in a big yellow balloon. “When you see the balloon go up, and the sun is shining, it will bring tears to your eyes,” Joan West says.

Of course, others would like to burst the Wests’ bubble. An unamused Maureen Hearn, of the Defenders of Wildlife, says balloon fragments could choke animals: “What goes up invariably does come down — and what comes down is killing dolphins, sea turtles, and probably other animals as well.”

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate