Ava’s Urn

I wrote in December about the very long, hard decision Matthew and I made regarding Ava’s Ashes.

Matthew and I searched online for months and months.  There were a few that we liked, however, the primary difficulty was that I am not a fan of child looking urns. With teddy bears and the like.  They just did not speak to me as what hers should be.  That meant finding a smaller adult urn or even a keepsake urn.

Do you think I could find anyone in the “urn business” that could tell me the size and help me figure out what size would work for her? No.  This is not like buying shoes or a onesie.  I am not schooled in the cubic measurements of ashes.  I began to be very frustrated with the process and around her birthday I walked away entirely from it. Dishearted, frustrated and grieved I was done.

And then the move happened.  And I had no time to take it up.

While unpacking my pottery collection in the new house is occurred to me that the answer I have been searching for has been right in front of me the entire time.  I have been an avid pottery collector for years.  I use my pottery, it is not for display but rather function.  I have one potter in particular that I have many pieces from.  And she happens to be local. So One day I took a deep breath and sent her an email.  I asked her if she would be willing to design and make an urn for an infant.  She responded in moments saying yes.  I simply had to pick out a pattern I liked and get an idea of shape and she would take care of the rest.

There were many colours to choose from in her work, however, I wanted this piece to be the only one of that pattern I owned.  I did not want her urn being made from the same pattern as my bean salad pot.  That is just wrong.  So it immediately limited it down to a few colour choices and I instantly knew which one was for us.

It is called Midnight.  The time in which we found out she was gone.  It is deep and dark and a thousand colours in between.  It is perfect.  In her shop we chatted about the size and shape I wanted.  Being tactile and knowing how I love the feel of pottery I asked her to design something that would fit in the palm of my hand. Something I could hold.  I have never held her white ashes container as it feels sterile and not her.  But this I wanted to be able to pick up and hold close to me if I needed to.  As well I wanted it personalized, with her name and date.  No hiding who she is in our  home, anyone can plainly see that this is our girl and she is ever present.

Just yesterday I received the email that the urn was ready.  I had errands to run and the shop was on the way.  I didn’t think anything of it as I wheeled into the parking lot and walked with Lillian down the garden path to the door.  As I opened the door my throat caught hard.  My chest began to ache and every part of my soul began to scream for Ava.  I could barely croak out the words that I was there to pick up a custom piece as the clerk went to go find it.

I picked up Lillian and buried my nose in her neck.  She played with my hair and I tried to steady myself from shaking.  I was not expecting this to be so hard but in the moment I quaked.

The clerk came out with it fully wrapped up and ready to go.  I was relieved.  I did not want my first moment with her urn there in the middle of a pottery store. I wanted my moment alone.  I paid (30 dollars! Hello!) and scurried out before my emotions flowed over and I would have to talk about it with the well meaning staff. Once I was home and Lillian was tucked into bed for a nap I unwapped it.

And it is beautiful.

From the top

Her birth day

Matthew and I will transfer her ashes into it ourselves this weekend.  At first we thought we would not be able to but both of us feel confident it is something we want to do together.  We may leave them in the bag so that we do not have to glue the lid down.  It is lovely just as it is and both of us are a bit unsettled about the idea of never being able to see her ashes if we want to down the road.  It turned out as lovely as an urn for your baby can, in our mind.  I love that I can run my finger over her name and feel it.  And that she is as present as can be in our home in an entirely new way.

Pottery by Pinecroft Pottery (not paid for this endorsement, just grateful for them.) www.pinecroft.ca