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Statuary Angel Cremation Urns and Keepsakes

by Jerri Haaven, Grief Recovery Specialist and Celebrant

  Angel urn atop gravestone

George Eliot is recognized for saying, “The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.” An angel cremation urn gracefully memorializes a loved one whose life is gone but whose love remains with us.

It’s no wonder that angels are iconic in Western culture. They are viewed as religious messengers or benevolent spirits. Angel symbolism has spawned a market of statuary representatives that are found in many areas. Churches, cemeteries, personal gardens, garden centers, and retail stores display various designs of angels, angel urns and products.

Last year, my friend Larry Englund laid his mother to rest. In a symbolic gesture, he placed a ceramic statuary angel atop her headstone as pictured above. He didn't consider whether or not the angel would last. Larry shared, “My mom had the angel on the top of her TV stand in her room. When she passed away we decided to place it on her headstone.” Larry liked the idea of an angel watching over his mom. One year later he visited his mom’s gravesite. In spite of Minnesota weather, visitors to the cemetery who might violate gravestones, and even the law of gravity, he and his wife found that the angel was still there. Untouched. Undisturbed. A true guardian angel.

Angels in religion

The Oxford Dictionary defines angel as, “a spiritual being believed to act as an attendant, agent, or messenger of God, conventionally represented in human form with wings and a long robe; a benevolent spirt.”

In Biblical context, angels have regularly been closely involved with important events in God’s plan to save mankind and the earth. For example,

  • The angel Gabriel told Mary that she would give birth to the Christ (Luke 1:26-38).
  • Angels also informed the shepherds about his birth (Luke 2:8-14).
  • Angels told people about the resurrection of Jesus (Matt. 28:2-7).
  • After Jesus was buried, angels told the disciples that he would come again in the same way. (Acts 1:11)

Angels and inspiration in the secular world

In a sensitive and thoughtful essay, Pelagia Horgan, a freelance writer whose work appears in The New Yorker, discusses The Last Judgment (1431), a painting by Fra Angelico. The well-known and highly-regarded painting inspires Horgan’s musings around the sacred, including angels, in secular life. How is it possible to maintain a sense of the sacred, of mystery and transcendence, without belief? The angels, in particular, in The Last Judgment, conjure a sense of mystery. She states:

When I look at The Last Judgment now, it’s not the promise of an afterlife that moves me, or the notion that the universe is orderly and just. It’s the vision of a world in which everything matters, in which everything has weight and meaning. … I’m drawn to a certain detail in the painting, a little angel in the garden of the blessed, who is sweetly embracing a friar, just risen from his grave. To greet the world as the angel greets the friar, lovingly, with tenderness and joy.

Artistic expressions of various media including sculpture, have a way of suggesting meaning, protection, and mystery. It’s easy to understand why Larry Englund and his wife felt compelled to place an angel atop the headstone of his beloved mom.

What about angel cremation urns and products?

For those who have decided to be cremated and aspire to have angels watching over them, there are many products to select from. The small porcelain Serenity Angel cremation keepsake is also available in pewter and bronze. A discrete compartment for ashes is accessed from the underside. 

When unspeakable tragedy befalls a family, the child-like innocence of the Cherub Flower memory lamp may help to provide grieving families with healing and comfort.

Angel wings are also quite symbolic, and can be a wonderful way to memorialize a loved one.  Whether you choose a gift for someone as an expression of sympathy, or a gift for yourself, cremation jewelry, such as the angel wing cremation necklace, emanates a pure form of simple elegance.

Increasingly, Americans are purchasing inspirational products of all types. Specialty Retail Report website stated that, according to the US Market for Religious Publishing and Products, in 2003 religious products topped $6.8 billion in sales, thanks in part to The DaVinci Code and The Passion of Christ. People who may face periods of crisis or hardship may seek symbols associated with messages of comfort. Hundreds of pages on Google publish information for anyone seeking angelic comfort and inspiration.

Jerri Haaven is a freelance writer, and a certified Grief Recovery Specialist and Celebrant. When caring for her dad, who suffered from dementia and COPD, Jerri struggled with the negative side effects of his illness. She developed positive outlets to express herself and recover from her loss. Today as a certified Grief Recovery Specialist and Celebrant, she uses her skills to help people who are in the midst of their own personal story of grief and loss.

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