Trying to help those who are Grieving

29 Apr Trying to help those who are Grieving

Before I designed personalized urns, I hadn’t realized that because the process is collaborative, I would feel a connection to each person’s lost loved one. Unlike other urn vendors, I function like a partner, collaborating with my client in remembering a loved one, whether we’re doing an urn for a person or a pet.

Many who order an urn for ashes are grieving so I reflected on what Dr. Alan Wolfelt said in his speech at the Association of Death Education and Counseling Conference titled, “Beyond the Medical Model of Bereavement Caregiving.” His exploration of grieving was important to me as I usually am contacted by people shortly after they’ve lost someone. They share memories with me and I want to function in a positive way. He pointed out that there is a need to embrace the loss and feel the pain, yet also have ways of distracting ourselves from it. My hope is that recreating a life by using pictures and other meaningful items serves both purposes. I hope that each crematory urn represents an opportunity to grow, both for the client and for me.

I try to create a piece of art that is about the deceased. In one case, I was designing an urn for parents who’d died years earlier, but the client explained that she wanted the same shape as the one she’d had. “It’s what I’m used to,” she told me.  Though I generally transform a metal urn, I found a wood one that resembled hers and had a picture frame crafted to accommodate what she asked for. After transferring the cremains into the new urn, she said, “My father read The New York Times every day so I shoved in the front page of today’s paper.” I wondered how he would have reacted to what’s going on now.