“Two Urns”

Two Urns

Most people can’t fathom the thought of losing one child, let alone losing two.  I have two urns that sit on my dresser at our home.  The first one is for my sweet little girl Katie.  It is bronze with a little girl on the front and she is kneeling and praying facing towards the right.  The second one is for my beautiful son Noah.  His is the same bronze urn, but his has a little boy kneeling and praying facing towards the left.  They are side by side on my dresser and the little images on the front of the urns face each other.  They make me smile when I stop and touch them, a warm loving smile because I know how much they have touched my life.

Some people would think that it’s a little odd to have the two urns in my house.  I am guessing that they think by seeing them everyday they would make me sad.  They don’t make me sad, they use to early on, but no longer.  It would bring me greater stress if they were not with me.  I like having them near by and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I like the fact that I know they are with me, that I can talk to them when ever I want.  I know they are not there, but it brings me comfort to touch the urns and say hello to them from time to time.  I don’t talk to them everyday, but they are a reminder to me to look at life differently; to live it differently. 

After one goes through the extreme grief (this takes years), trauma and depression that accompany the death of a child, they start to see things a little differently.  You learn to live a life that is genuine.  You want to start living in a way you hadn’t before.  You usually do not tolerate things in your life you use to tolerate.  You smile more (this takes a while, after the anger has run its course) and are quicker to reach out to others that need help.  You become transparent and drop any ego you may have had prior to the loss.  Your approach to your career can be greatly impacted especially if you didn’t really like your job before hand.  The thought of all of the ass kissing it takes to climb the corporate ladder makes you nauseous.  You surround yourselves with real friends and start to distance yourself from the “good time” friends (the ones that disappear after the death of your child and the aftermath that follows).  You will find new friends that are not afraid to sit with you while you are crying and will take your phones calls no matter what’s going on in their life at the time.  You start to see all of the injustice in this world and may even become an advocate as a way to honor your lost child.  I have learned that’s it not all about me and I realize there is healing in helping others.  You become less judgmental towards others.  The list goes on and on.

This is why I keep their urns with me, as a reminder to continue to live my life in a positive manner versus heading in a direction that would be easy to go at times.  It’s unfortunate that we have to go through a profound life experience to understand the true beauty of life and all it has to offer.  Why do we tolerate all of the “stuff” prior to these events, fear?   

I read a story this weekend about a guy that survived the 9/11 World Trade Center events.  He described that when he was a child, he always wanted to work in the financial district in New York.  He lived across the river and dreamed of getting out of the bad environment in which he was raised.  He pursued his goals and achieved them.  However, on 9/11 he walked out of the building where he worked for a financial institution and kept walking.  He walked away from the corporate job and decided at that time he was going to live his life to the fullest.  He started to learn how to dance the Tango and it has become his passion.  He has traveled to South America to learn the art of this dance.  Studying it to the point where he has become a Master Tango instructor.  He now owns his own Tango studio in New York and teaches it to others.  His income level has dropped, but his need for material items has also diminished since he found his passion.  He has learned to simplify his life after a profound life event.  Great story.

How about you, do you talk to your child where they are located; cemetery, urns in your home or ashes in the wind?  Are you living your life with passion?  Have you made changes to your life after a profound life experience?  Share your stories with me and the others that visit.

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This entry was posted in 9/11, Anger, Bereaved, Compassion, Courage, Crying, Dear Friends, Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Depression, Despair, Devastation, Friend, Grief, Grieving Dads Words, Healing, Hope, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Living Simple, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Loss of a Son, Profound Life Experience, Survival, Words of Encouragement. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to “Two Urns”

  1. I have my daughter’s ashes in HER jewelry box.

    I am nowhere near where you are. I look at you for inspiration, for strength – and tell myself “that’s where I want to be, one day.”

    When we lose a child, sometimes we develop a huge reservoir of compassion that sometimes is almost too painful to feel, see or express.

    • Grieving Dads says:

      Sherry – It took me several years to get to this point and a lot of kind people that reached out their hands even when I didn’t think I needed them. After the death of my daughter Katie (first loss) I became biter and very angry to the point I just wished someone would say or do something so I could unleash the wrath of my pain and anger on them. It wasn’t their fault, but thats how a I chose to deal with it. I now know that was wrong, but it took me going to a very deep depressive state before I realized I was probably going to die if I didn’t change and allow myself to be vulnerable. This wasn’t part of my “get the hell out of my way Type A personality”. But I gave in and allowed myself to be transparent in my pain. Sitting in front of a counselor for the first time was ugly. Snot and tears everywhere. I got to the point where I realized it was helping me and I started to tell the world about my pain (yes with lots of snot and tears – not pretty :)) I realized by allowing myself to appear vulnerable, it helped others to put their guard down.

      I am honored that you look to me and this blog for inspiration and strength. I will continue to help everyone that I can.

      Peace.

      Kelly

  2. Scott says:

    We keep Quinn’s ashes in an urn on a dresser in our bedroom as well. The thought of him being anywhere other than “with us” was something we could not fathom. It’s comforting to have a physical remembrance of him close to us- a daily reminder he is still very much part of our lives.

    We’ve also given his friends necklaces with his ashes in them as a physical remembrance- grateful we have the opportunity to give those who cared for him a chance to participate in the process of healing.

    Kelly, keep up the good work- we all appreciate what you are doing!

    • Grieving Dads says:

      Scott –

      Love the idea of sharing with his friends. I am sure it ahs helped them with their healing. Someone told me today that they had their childs ashes added into some ink that was then applied as a tattoo. Kind of liked this idea. Always a part of you.

      I will keep it up. Glad you are finding this blog helpful Scott.

      Peace.

      Kelly

  3. Barb Varney says:

    Bless you for doing so much for others. Thank you. Barb

  4. John says:

    Becasue of her sudden and unexpected death, it was decided that our daughter, Allison, would be cremated. Half her ashes are with our son-in-law and half with us. Allison now sits on our fireplace mantle watching over us as we do our daily activities. There’s also a recent photo of her on the mantle.

    At first, it was a little disturbing, but after a while I began talking to her. I would hold the urn in both hands and look at the picture while telling her how much I missed her. After a time, and this may sound strange, but I heard her voice softly telling me that it was okay…that she was okay…and I found comfort in that.

    We have 3 months to go until the 1st anniversary of her passing. Each day seems to get a little more difficult to get through. We are seeing a grief counselor on a weekly basis and that seems to help, but only on a temporary basis. Within 2 days I’m feeling confused and kind of floating in and out of “reality”.

    Perhaps I should be talking to Allison more….

    • Grieving Dads says:

      John,

      The fact you are seeking help is a huge step forward. I understand your comments about “seems to help, but only on a temporary basis”. I went through the same thing. It helped me to go, but the next day or so it would creep back in. I then started to go to several support groups and got involved with it, meaning I spoke about my pain. I also went to counselors and went to church several time a week. I would find churchs that had a service and walk in and sit in the back and pray and cry. This helped me a lot. I never really listened to the message, just sitting and praying (which I beleive is a form of counseling) help me. Do what ever you need to do and yes, talk to Allison.

      Peace.

      Kelly

  5. Kristina says:

    THIS EXCERPT IS A FANTASTIC SUMMARY!

    After one goes through the extreme grief (this takes years), trauma and depression that accompany the death of a child, they start to see things a little differently. You learn to live a life that is genuine. You want to start living in a way you hadn’t before. You usually do not tolerate things in your life you use to tolerate. You smile more (this takes a while, after the anger has run its course) and are quicker to reach out to others that need help. You become transparent and drop any ego you may have had prior to the loss. Your approach to your career can be greatly impacted especially if you didn’t really like your job before hand. The thought of all of the ass kissing it takes to climb the corporate ladder makes you nauseous. You surround yourselves with real friends and start to distance yourself from the “good time” friends (the ones that disappear after the death of your child and the aftermath that follows). You will find new friends that are not afraid to sit with you while you are crying and will take your phones calls no matter what’s going on in their life at the time. You start to see all of the injustice in this world and may even become an advocate as a way to honor your lost child. I have learned that’s it not all about me and I realize there is healing in helping others. You become less judgmental towards others. The list goes on and on.

  6. John Geraci says:

    My youngest daughter Leslie died(Wow that’s the first time I’ve written that instead of passed away) on July 1. In the brief time since then I’ve gone through the gamut of emotions expressed by others here.

    Leslie wanted her ashes scattered in the two places she called home – Manhattan Beach where she grew up; and Vancouver, Canada where she left behind her young son and daughter.

    We scattered half of her ashes up there; then the second part down here. But I couldn’t bear to just let all of them go, so kept a small urn of hers.

    I am so glad I did it since there is still a small part of her that will always be with me. I don’t talk to her ashes for now, but instead talk to the many pictures of her from various stages of her life.

    Thanks to all of you who share your walk down this path. I don’t look forward to the one year anniversary since from what I’ve read it’s really hard. But only time will tell.

    • Grieving Dads says:

      John,

      Time will tell and you have to take it one day at a time. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

      I am proud of you for writing that for the first time. I know how emotionally hard that is. I remember the first couple of times when I would write to my children. I would start with “Dear sweet Katie” or “Dear sweet Noah” and I would lose it. It has gotten much easier since those early days.

      Peace.

      Kelly

  7. chris says:

    i visit my sons grave about nce a week, but it is never a happy experience. when am there, i am sad instead of my usual rage. the first aniversary of his death is coming up in a few weeks, and the pain has been increasing daily. i hope that one day i can find your peace and happiness.

    • Grieving Dads says:

      Chris,

      Your feelings of rage and sadness is a normal reaction to a not so normal situation. Sometimes as we approach anniversarys, the anticipation leading up to the day is worse than the day it self. Take the day to spend with your son. Do things that he would have like to do. Make a donation in his name, something positive that reflects him.

      Trust me, everyday is a fight to find peace and happiness, however, it is no where near the battle you are in right now. Keep fighting. I along with other grieving dads are here to help you on the days you do not think you can go on,

      Thank you for sharing you story.

      Peace.

      Kelly

  8. Grieving Dads says:

    Sara,

    “Loving so much more deeply” is part of the compassion that we all seem to get after going through something so profound. Trust me, I still ahve my frustrations similar to to yours. Its hard for people to know how blessed they are until they find themselves in our shoes. At that time, its too late.

    Hold tightly to her memories and let her life live on with you.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Peace.

    Kelly

  9. Sara says:

    I had thought having Livvy with her disabilities had changed me but nothing compared to losing her. So many things matter so much more, telling people about her, keeping her memory alive. Loving so much more deeply.

    Other things frustrate me now to. People who don’t spend time with their children, who allow work or hobbies to stop them being there for their families. People who don’t realise how blessed they are.

    I know that nearly three years on, Livvy’s death is as raw as it was three weeks after she had gone. Yet I know I was blessed and I hold on to my memories tight.

  10. Kevin C says:

    I am touched by your strength. I hope someday to be able to feel a sense of peace and calm. I am some consmed by my grief that all reminders of my son Matt bring me unbearable pain. Almost one year of complete hell. All of the mielstones are almost complete and I doubt as these roll by again I will gain what It is to be normal again. I feel dazed and the saddness seems to deepen. Thank you for this forum for dads – it is needed.

    • Grieving Dads says:

      Kevin,

      When I say this takes years, I mean it. You are in your first year and in the depths of your despair. WHEN you get through the deeps, it happens slowly, you will know what I am talking about. I remember the first day I woke up and actually smiled and felt good. It didnt last long, but I held on it. Once the depths of your despair start to become a little mroe shallow, you will feel a sense of peace that will come over you. You will then realize at that time that you will survive this.

      Yoou will not be “normal” as you knew it before. Its not possible, your son has died, but I can telll you this, if you do your grief work (hardest work you’ll ever do) you will establish a new normal. The grief work requires you to openly and honestly discuss you pain, sadness, fear and ability to tell your story and Matt’s story.

      Thank you for sharing.

      Peace.

      Kelly

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