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Stories of Cremation Urns for Mom

by Maggie Thompson


Buying an urn for mom.

Photo by Annie Spratt*

You’re writing about… what?

“Mom, that’s just morbid – right before Mothers Day?”

My daughter found the topic and timing of this article a jarring juxtaposition.

When I read my draft aloud to my husband, I detected a shudder. “Gee, you make this stuff sound so… normal… Well, I guess that’s a good thing.”

He then left the room.

As my family’s unfiltered reactions illustrate, it’s a challenge to consider the death of a mother – especially your own mother, or the mother of your children. We like to think our mothers will be here forever. But it’s a transition we’ll all face if we haven't already. Hearing others' experiences, and learning what options and choices are available can help ease the process when the time comes. I invite you to gently read on.

A few stories

Ron has treasured memories of childhood family camping trips to the ocean in northern California. When he became the designated son to tend his mother’s cremains, he instinctively thought of the Pacific and vacations when his mom and family were together. He scattered her ashes from a breathtaking spot along the rocky coast and considered this the perfect memorial.

Barbara, a talented painter, had longed to travel across Europe but never did while she was alive. Her ashes were held in a can she always used when painting at her home studio. When her daughter and son later traveled to Europe, they divided her ashes. They went separate ways, and each one sprinkled the ashes at scenic spots along the way.

Susan’s mother, who had lived in Ohio, requested that her ashes rest in New York. In a loving  gesture, Susan chose a biodegradable water urn for her mom. She released it to float in the Saint Lawrence River, allowing the current to carry it to upstate New York, fulfilling her mother’s wishes.

George Bernard Shaw, the famed playwright, witnessed the cremation of his mother and wrote about it, reframing the details of the process with both warmth and humor. He imagined her watching with him in wonder as her remains transcended into beautiful fire and then a dainty little heap of ashes, which he later scattered in a flowerbed. “Mama would have enjoyed it."

What to do with your mom’s ashes?

There are as many answers to this question as there are people! As in the stories above, there are countless ways to honor your mom, reflect the life she lived, and help loved ones through the process of loss.

Many urns for mom are creative expressions of remembrance. Mother-of-Pearl is a timeless way to honor a mother. The elegant Elite Mother-of-Pearl cremation urn symbolizes that which nourishes, and represents protective energy combined with tranquility.

Perhaps some of these options are new to you. Settle in and consider the additional choices below.

Cremation ash keepsakes

A mini urn or keepsake urn for mom is a tender memento that stirs quiet thoughts. Available in ceramic, glass, wood, metal, marble and stone, these keepsakes for ashes are designed to hold a small portion of cremains. They can also store a lock of hair or flower petals. Additionally, if desired, keepsake urns allow for the sharing of mom’s ashes among her children, family, or friends. Styles include many classic urn shapes, hearts, candle holders, memory boxes, photo frames, and ashes made into glass art.

Jewelry that holds ashes

A necklace is a personal statement of meaning and beauty. Its function of holding ashes can be either a discreet symbol of remembrance for you alone, or a unique conversation piece – it’s up to you. Mother and child cremation jewelry represents a tender connection. The heart-shaped crystal clear pendant captures a mother and child in an abstract design in smooth curves, accented by a crystal clear rhinestone. Silver cremation jewelry is classy – designs range from a simple sterling silver heart to the angel wings pendant with detail of graceful feathers. Necklaces for ashes also come in gold, titanium, and stainless steel.

Scattering and biodegradable urns

Designed to open easily, scattering urns facilitate the gentle dispersing of ashes. Available in many pleasing designs, a scattering urn is a beautiful vessel to carry mom’s ashes. Biodegradable urns, such as the Divine Lotus cremation urn, are meaningful for water burial. Other scattering urns come in wood, ceramic and metal.

Be sure to review ash scattering regulations before planning your ceremony or scattering.

Still with me?

If you have read this far, you’ve begun to engage your thoughts and feelings about choices for cremation urn products that will be meaningful ways to honor your mother. Knowing your options is a helpful step in the layered process of grief and memorializing.  

 *Image can be found here:

Maggie Shopen Thompson, MFA, is a freelance writer and writing workshop facilitator in Montpelier, Vermont. She has had experience as a caregiver for her mother many years ago, and for her husband and daughter during their recent cancer treatments and recoveries. She is a contributing author/artist in Healing Art & Writing – using creativity to meet illness, curated and edited by Patricia Fontaine, published in August 2016.