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.