Thursday, June 20, 2013

Choosing An Urn For Your Child...

 There really aren't any "rule books" or "how to" books when it comes to grieving the devastating loss of a child.  Trust me, I looked.  And that's especially true when it comes to choosing an Urn.  It's, quite possibly, one of the worst jobs ever.

Early on, I asked for help from my readers.  On my Facebook page I put down some of the things we were looking for, hoping that if many people quickly googled - it would spare me having to "Urn Shop."  Boy, did everyone come through.  And then some.

But here is the thing - they all looked the same.  I kept getting the same suggestions over and over because the reality was - there wasn't a lot out there.  Some looked too feminine.  Others looked too "grown up."  None of them looked like something that would remind us of Gavin.

That was the most important quality this Urn had to have.  It HAD to be unique... like Gavin.  

Finally, I found what I was looking for.  A custom Urn.  The website I found was called "Sacred Journey Vessels."  But the new friend I found was the artist, Sharon Hornstein.  We were sure we wanted a metal urn (Can you even begin to imagine a breakable one - with children in the house?  Yeah.  Us either.) and Sharon works with bronze.  We knew we wanted some blue - but other colors as well so it coordinated with the colors in our home.  We knew we wanted the inscription from "On the Night You Were Born" which I often read to Gavin... which Miss Sara read at his funeral... and which is inscribed on his memorial prayer cards.  We also knew we wanted a butterfly - but a masculine looking one.  I gave Sharon the link to my blog and over the weeks that she was working on his urn, she got to know him... which meant a lot to me.  I *think* I had mentioned his love of water... but I kinda don't think so.  I never imagined it could be incorporated into work on an Urn.

To say that Sharon came through with everything we wanted and then some would be a huge understatement.  Take a look.  
 On the bottom is the swirling waves of the ocean that blends into the heavenly blue skies above.  And the glittery paint she added, to me, just adds to the magic that lies between - his life.

My photos really don't do the urn justice.  It's more beautiful in person.  The inscription you see on the top says:

...and the night wind whispered, "Life will never be the same."  Because there had never been anyone like you... ever in the world.
Even the top is gorgeous.
It's something no parent ever wants to think about... let alone do.  For us, leaving Gavin's body in a random cemetery we have no connection to was unfathomable.  And we also believe that Gavin was so much more than his body, which failed him in many ways.  We celebrate his spirit... his soul.  Those are the things that invoke the greatest memories for us.  Having his ashes home - next to his sister's tiny Urn on the mantle - seemed the most appropriate.

This custom Urn is one of a kind - like Gavin.  You'll never see another one like it - just like you'll never encounter another child like Gavin.  It was worth waiting for.  Gavin's ashes have been safe in the home of our Funeral Director all this time.  We will bring this Urn to him to fill and he'll give us a small amount for us to bring to the beach.  We have not wanted to go to the beach until we had Gavin with us.  There was no way we'd leave him behind for our first trip there.  I'll also have some ashes to fill a locket - just like the one I wear every day with Darcy's ashes.

I miss Gavin so much.  It's still just unreal that he's dead.  I can definitely say I never thought I'd be blogging about choosing an Urn for my five year old.

Thank you again to Sharon from Sacred Journey Vessels for helping me through this process.  You have found your calling... what you give to others through your art and soul is a true gift.


  1. Wow! That is all I can say. Beautiful!

  2. It's gorgeous!! You're right, everything out there looked the same. I noticed that as I searched for something great to help you out but this urn is above and beyond anything I saw. Gavin deserves every bit of this unique, one of a kind urn - just shows how amazingly beautiful his life was. Thanks for sharing...I had been wondering if you'd picked one.

  3. It's beautiful, Kate! It represents Gavin well.

    Continued thoughts and prayers for all of you! With extra love and light for Hope!

    ~Mary in SC

  4. Kate, as usual, first class & perfection for Gavin!!! Stunning is an understatement... WOW... The artistry & yes she got to know him quickly!!! I also have to say that every time I come back to your blog page to read an update... the photo of the boys above in those adorable mathching plaid shirts & green jeans make me so happy no matter what kind of day I am having..... Still praying for you & your sweet family... Much prayers & Love from Orlando...

  5. I fully understand that I don't know Gavin but from what I've learnt from your blog, that is perfect. Oh wow. How beautiful and how Gavin.

  6. Beautiful and unique...just like Gavin..
    michele in Syr

  7. Kate, A friend of mine shared this poem today and it just sang to me about you and your family's journey. Your courageous offering of your experience brings all of us closer to God, and it inspires me every day to witness the love and generosity in this community you have created. My prayers are with you every day.

    God Went to India
    -Cynthia Rylant

    To see the elephants.
    God adores elephants.
    He thinks they are
    the best thing
    He ever made.
    They do everything
    He hoped for:
    They love their children,
    they don't kill,
    they mourn their dead.
    This last thing is
    especially important
    to God.
    Elephants visit the graves
    of those they loved.
    They spend hours there.
    They fondle the dry bones.
    They mourn.
    God understands mourning
    better than any other emotion,
    better than love.
    Because He has lost
    everything He has
    ever made.
    You make life,
    you make death.
    The things God makes
    always turn into
    something else and
    He does find this good.
    But He can't help missing the originals.

    1. What a beautiful poem. I love elephants.

  8. I have never commented before because I've never known what to say, but the urn is gorgeous and an amazing way to commemorate your beautiful son.

  9. That is a beautiful thing to nestle Gavin in for all eternity :)

  10. It is truly a work of art - magnificent. And no, I cannot imagine what it would be like to have to find an urn for a child. I am so sorry you had to get it, but so thankful that someone made such a wondrous container to hold such precious remains.

  11. Kate, each time I read "On the Night You Were Born" it brings tears to my eyes. It is the only children's book I have found that captures the pure, crazy love for a child. I agree with you that it embodies Gavin in the perfect way. His unique little soul will never be duplicated and because of him, the world will certainly never be the same.

    The urn is breathtaking, much like Gavin's story that will continue to be a legacy. Your family continues to be in my prayers.


  12. This is breathtaking .... I am going to pre-order one so my children will not have to worry once I earn my angel wings. Thank you for sharing this artist. Her story is so beautiful about her love for her husband and how young they both were when he died. The story of how she started to paint these is so magical....

    Granny B

  13. I am so happy that you found the perfect place for Gavin's ashes. I can't imagine how difficult that would be, but I can imagine how important it is to get it just right.

  14. I wish you never had to experience shopping for an urn. Just know that your idea to customize an urn for Gavin and your beautifully written blog post will help others in their time of need. Gavin just keeps on giving.

  15. Ohhh.....I feel so touched that you chose to go with the place I shared with you. Yes, unique.

    I remember working with Sharon, too. She is very accommodating, patient and creative.

    I'm glad you are pleased with your urn.

  16. Such a beautiful urn for a beautiful life.

  17. As Glennon would say... "brutiful" definately. My heart breaks that you ever had to find such a thing. My heart sings that you were able to find such a thing.

  18. That is beautiful! So glad you were able to get a one-of-a-kind...

    Always praying for you,

  19. dearest kate-it is so unfair that life handed you this crazy umimaginable load of obstacles to overcome, but i am constantly in awe of the amazing grace you find to handle it all. i do not doubt that you were definitely Gavin's angel here on this earth and if i had to guess i would say he is likely beaming with pride to be able to serve YOU as an angel now in heaven's house. thank you for teaching so many of us the true meaning of the word GRACE. prayers for you go out daily. -jill p

  20. Kate, I came across your story this week in the milwaukee journal at work. Tears rolled down my face as I read it and going into this site brought a full out release. Something that had building for a long time. I still can't fight back my tears to this day. Thank you so much for inspiration, for touching the very core of my life. I know its no consilation but your story has helped my life in so many ways. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  21. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to meet so many truly delightful people through my work. Kate and her family are such amazing people that I feel honored to have been a part of their journey. Thank you all so much for your kind comments on Gavin's urn. I do believe he helped me in making it something his parents and brother would love. I feel so blessed and full of gratitude.

  22. A beautiful urn for such a wonderful and amazing little boy. It says Gavin when you look at it. Kate you never failed Gavin, you were so much to him and still are. Just look at all you have accomplished in a short period of time. My love and continued prayers to you, Ed. and Brian.


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