Sadness and grief has touched many lives during 2016. For the majority, handling the passing of a loved one is a new experience and it can be confusing knowing what the options are for saying goodbye.
Secure Haven Funeral Directors, in Margaretting, have searched the world for the most unique range of memorial urns and keepsakes.
Cheryl Yarwood, managing director, said: “It’s a privilege to offer such a varying and unique range of post-cremation options to families. After all, it aids them along their journey with grief.”
When Kathryn Clark’s mum Sheila died this summer, the family knew they wanted their loved one to be returned to her home in Yorkshire. The 83-year-old had been born and raised up north and it felt right to put her to rest there.
The Scatter Pod, an eco-friendly scattering cremation urn, has a peel-up tab on the top for ashes to be scattered from.
Kathryn, of Rettendon Common, also had some of her mum’s ashes placed into a bracelet charm.
She said: “I didn’t want an urn for mum, but I wanted to keep her close; I wanted a keepsake that was private; that was just for me.
“I find myself twiddling the charm on my bracelet all the time and thinking of mum. I feel as though mum is with me and protecting me. It brings that closeness back.”
The family were so comforted by the products, they also had some of their dog Molly’s ashes interred into a paper weight.
With a firm belief in “ashes to ashes”, Sarah Ramsey-Smith’s mum Mercy wanted to be returned to the earth when she died.
So, the 85-year-old’s ashes were laid to rest at Woodman Road Cemetery, Brentwood, within an environmentally-friendly Limbo Geos.
The hand-crafted biodegradable urn is made from binding plant organic substrate, fibre, golden sand and plant extracts and fitted completely with Mercy’s wishes.
Daughter Sarah, of Brentwood, said: “It meant everything to have the biodegradable urn for mum. She was all about things returning to where they started from; ashes to ashes and dust to dust.”
While Mercy died in May, her ashes were stored at Secure Haven’s unique storage niche until this month when the family felt ready to lay her to rest.
Sarah said: “I felt happier knowing mum was safe at Secure Haven rather than being stuck in a cupboard with others at a funeral home.”
A brother’s last wish to have his ashes scattered in a river gave his family fears about the logistics.
Peter Low was determined to give brother William, 65, of Chelmsford, the send-off he had requested in his will, but said: “I imagined we’d have to have a traditional urn that we’d have to open and scatter from. The thought of the wind blowing in the wrong direction and it being a disaster was abhorrent to me.”
Instead, Secure Haven introduced the family to the Samsara Sand Urn. Made from sand and salt bound with natural plant extracts, the urn dissolves when submerged in water.
Peter, who gave William the send-off he wanted at Southend Pier with their mother, said: “It was an important final moment; it was a release.
“I had not heard of the sand urn before. It was absolutely perfect, particularly for my mum who was not sure, at first, she wanted to be there when we scattered William’s ashes. It was very clean and respectful.”
For some, the tradition of keeping their loved one’s ashes at home is an important way of coping with the loss.
For Jackie Scale, when husband John died, she wanted him to remain at home with her.
With the Les Grand Vents urn, hand carved and turned from one single log in various woods, ashes can take pride of place in the home without being obvious.
Jackie said: “The Les Grand Vents range are incredibly beautiful, warm, tactile pieces and their individuality makes them so very personal. Now it is placed in our home, it is absolutely perfect.
“I find it incredibly comforting as I believe John would have approved.”