Designing custom cremation urns for ashes to honor a loved one or pet may not have been the logical next step for a comedy writer, but I’m delighted that I’m able to help those who want to participate in the process of creating an artistic way of keeping their loved one with them.

The most unusual urn I have done awaits my husband and me. The idea occurred to me one evening so I ran into the kitchen, where my husband and son were preparing dinner. “Would you prefer we be buried or cremated?” I blurted out to our son, then in his late 20’s. After a stunned silence, he looked up and said, “Uh, any reason you’re asking?”

“I’m working on a pet urn, and I just got the idea of making a larger one for us.” Silence. “It will be beautiful.” More silence. “I’ll use pictures we took at Disney World, on trips, at parties. It will remind you of all the good times we had,” I said to my son, to whom it would go. “I can use our plates so it will look like the dinner table,” I threw in, knowing if he agreed, my husband would.

After a few moments, maybe persuaded by the prospect of not having to schlep to a cemetery and perhaps getting hungry, our son said, “Sure.”

Ending up in a beautiful urn for our ashes, together with my husband in our son’s home, is better than any other exit strategy I can think of.

Loved Ones Speak

My daughter was bereft when she unexpectedly lost her beloved cat, who was being
transported in an airplane. She was inconsolable but perked up when I suggested we commission
Sybil to design an urn with pictures of Lady
Belle.The wonderful urn that came sooner than we
expected captured the cat’s personality. It has a special place in my daughter’s home.

Sandra Slater, Palo Alto consultant