Cremation Jewelry? Did I Miss Something?

I got an email today from urns.com. No really. They would like me to add them to my blogroll and I truly don’t know how I feel about that. Do they know that most 9/11 widows never had need of an urn? Honestly, I have no experience in the world of urn-dom, since I had nothing to put in one, but I’m weirdly fascinated by this site. A tear drop necklace that allows you to carry your loved one at all times around your neck? There’s actually an entire category called “Cremation Jewelry” that I can only assume was inspired by Angelina. Biodegradable urns in the shape of sea-shells? Urns that double as clocks. I’m not sure if these are meant to be put on your mantel so that you can always rely on your dead loved one for the time, or if its meant to be buried. I’m hard pressed to figure out why anyone would need to know the time at that point.

I realize I’ve missed out on an entire subculture of death. How would I have made the decision between solid brass, marble or alloy? Isn’t alloy what you pay extra for when buying a car? I imagine many of you have had to make these decisions. If not at urns.com than at coffins.com. How surreal an experience that must be.

On that note, I’ve had a number of conversations with widows and widowers who years later still have their loved one’s ashes sitting on the mantle. “I know it’s weird,” they say. Or, “I just haven’t found the right time,” or “it’s complicated because of family.” I’ve also heard some lovely stories of beach-based or mountain top ceremonies with entire families taking part. I was moved by the scene in “The Descendants” when the father (George Clooney) and his kids head out in a canoe to sprinkle the mom’s ashes on the water.

I’ve tried to write a scene in my book about a sprinkling of ashes ceremony. I hope I’ve managed to capture something I have little experience with.

What has been your experience? Did you buy your loved one’s urn online?

All mirth aside, urns.com does have a useful blog which I will add to my blogroll.

 

 

12 Comments

  1. Buffey February 24, 2012 at 1:31 am

    Here’s my take on the jewelry…I find it creepy having the deceased divvied up because only a small amount of the cremains will fit in the jewelry. When my FIL passed away they split his ashes 6 ways into smaller urns (I’m assuming ones designed for babies or pets). Since the crematorium only had 5 in stock, the sixth portion of ashes got put into a small rubbermaid container one would use typically for leftovers in the fridge. That was the container my husband got (he didn’t go down to his parent’s house when his dad died because our daughter was born that same weekend). A few months later when his mother delivered that portion of the FIL’s ashes to Charles we didn’t know what to think. In private we joked about wondering which part of “Bud” did we receive…was it an arm, leg, possibly his head? Two years later when Charles passed my MIL asked for some of his ashes to take back home with her. Luckily the crematorium wasn’t able to deliver his cremains until after she left to go back home…I didn’t have the heart to tell her how morbid I thought it was to “split” him up like that…I let his oldest brother tell her later. She passed away last year, and they did the same thing with her asking me if I wanted some of her ashes for my daughter, I politely said “no thank you”. I also want to return “Bud” to someone. I think having Charles’ cremains is enough…

    1. Buffey February 24, 2012 at 1:36 am

      I did briefly consider using LifeGems’ services though…they will take a portion of your loved one’s cremains and turn them into a diamond. This consideration was mostly because of an inside joke between us about diamonds (long story) but I never followed through with it for financial reasons mostly…

  2. annie February 24, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I’ve had this and that memorial service like company ask to be on my blogroll. I politely decline. I am surprised they haven’t contacted you before this. Unless you scatter or bury ashes soon after the fact, it seems that they have a tendency to “hang out” for quite a well. Intellectually we known they are “just ashes” but emotionally it’s not the same and it’s not like we are talking about a couple of handfuls. People make a surprising amount of ash. Scattering is seldom like you see in the movies unless the movie is The Big Lebowski.

    1. Abigail - Site Author March 1, 2012 at 11:58 am

      Annie,

      Yeah, I guess I haven’t had many solicitations like this, though I can’t say I’m too unhappy about it. This one caught me off-guard I guess.

      I also had never thought about the amount of ash that gets produced. I’ve written an ash scattering scene into my novel. I might need to go back and revise.

  3. william February 24, 2012 at 9:52 am

    I’ve not had to purchase any sort of urn, either one I’d wear around my neck (unlikely) or keep on the mantle (more likely). Brings to mind an old (and funny) song by Peter Lang about his Uncle Ernie being stored in a box over the fireplace in perpetuity.

    Actually, my lone experience with an urn involved the one my grandfather built (he was an engineer at MIT) for him and his beloved wife of 50 years to pass their time in the great perhaps after leaving this world. She survived him by just over 20 years and in that intervening period, he resided in a cardboard box in, variously, his widow’s, daughter’s and sons’ houses. When my grandmother died, we combined her ashes with my grandfather’s in the urn he designed and built and eventually properly laid them to rest together. In its industrial simplicity, it was quite lovely, especially knowing that they would be together truly forever.

    1. Abigail - Site Author March 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm

      William,
      I love the story of your grandfather’s urn and the idea that your grandparents will now rest together. Such a lovely thought and how wonderful that you were able to come together as a family and pull it off.

  4. Kristine February 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Funny you should choose this topic. I am revising my will and have been looking into these kinds of things! Which is why this recent article in the NYT caught my eye:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/opinion/sunday/resting-places-going-ashes-or-dust.html

    it quotes a fantastic line from an excellent memoir I read this year, about a woman grieving the death of her mother, In Meghan O’Rourke’s “Long Goodbye,” the family gathers on a Connecticut beach on a blustery December day to scatter her mother’s ashes; the wind comes up and blows them all over her brother. “I’m fine,” he reassures everyone: “I just have Mom in my eyes.”

    1. Abigail - Site Author March 1, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      Kristine,
      Thanks for the great article! So apropos. I think I need to go back and look at my will. I don’t remember making any kind of definitive choice in this matter. So? What did you wind up choosing? Cremation or burial? Or is that too personal a question? ;0

  5. Kitten Mother February 26, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I met a woman here in San Miguel who had lost her beloved pet to natural causes. A friend had persuaded her to have the ashes turned into a crystal which she wore as a ring. It was a stunning blue colour. What I learned is that the colour of the crystal is predicated by the person/pet’s own mineral composition. I found this oddly intriguing. The dog owner was greatly comforted by her ring.

    1. Abigail - Site Author March 1, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      I wonder if creating a crystal out of human cremains would be the same as a dog’s? You’d have a lot of crystals! You’d have enough for a tiara or something. Amazing that the resulting stones would be blue. I would assume a grayish color. I wonder if there is a way of telling ahead of time what color crystals your cremains will create?

      OK, I’m all for the tiara option!

      So for the record, mum, do you want your ashes sprinkled at Ste. Lucie or made into crystals? It’s good to be clear about these things. 😉

  6. Monday Linda May 18, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Mirth mixed with a wrinkled perplexed brow.
    I could never make or wear such a silver droplet of love..d one.

    I find bones and ashes of my relatives sacred, but couldn’t wear them.

    We are moving away from cemeteries and being with our dead during and for awhile after their passage, yet i find value in the concious, unconscious and spiritual transitions on both sides. I have visited graves of my loved ones. With some over years I have felt the heat of their bones dissipate. Each release, coming and going is so different.
    Great site. You inspire me to think. Now to write.

    I look forward to reading your book.

  7. Payton June 22, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Hi,

    My mother went out with this guy for a month and then one day asked what this leather cord was he has wearing around his neck. He pulled it out and told her it was an urn necklace of his deceased wife. It wasn’t small either! She was in shock and decided he was definitely not ready for a relationship. What is your opinion?

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