Sunday, April 20, 2014

About Time, About Life and Death

Honey and I watched a little sleeper of a film last night, About Time.  We were both completely charmed, and as devoted movie buffs, can't imagine why it wasn't nominated for Best Original Screenplay.  It's both written and directed by Richard Curtis, who also wrote Four Weddings and a Funeral, and who wrote/directed Love Actually and Notting Hill.  It's witty, sophisticated, and above all it's an inspiring celebration of life.

I highly recommend this film to anyone who is interested in the interplay among life, death and love.  It's an uplifting life lesson for anyone who is in life and in love, from the joy of creating a family, to mid-life, to end of life.  I don't know of another film that so completely nails the aspiration to live in the moment. That's all I'll say, because I don't want to give the story away.  Enjoy!

Barbara Bergen collaborates with high caliber artists to create beautiful cremation urns, memorial keepsakes, cremation jewelry and pet urns.  These artworks are available in her web store, Cremation Urns by Legacy.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

What Does a Cremation Urn Have to Do With Life?

What Does a Cremation Urn Have to Do With Life?

It's a curious question.  A funeral urn's purpose is to contain the ashes of a person who has passed through death, right?  And to act as a focus during their funeral service, much like a casket will do at the front of the chapel, when burial is chosen.  So what does an urn have to do with life? 
Art Glass Cremation Urn

Because so many families choose to keep the urn in their home, the selection of the vessel has much to do with the quality of their life as they go forward after losing someone they love. It will continue to act as a focus for their loving memories, and also somewhat as a presence of their loved one's spirit as they progress through grief.  Most families will try to find an urn that reflects their loved one's style and personality, one that lets them assure themselves with the conviction that "She/he would have liked this one".

Keepsake Urn Memorials
A full sized urn may be too imposing for some to live with on a day to day basis. A smaller keepsake urn can also act as an avatar for the deceased. In cases where the family wishes to divide the ashes among family members, a small memorial keepsake can provide this focus. A small urn memorial can enable a tactile way of holding the loved one in your hands at times of deep grief or simply for experiencing loving memories. Often, families will choose to scatter the ashes in a scattering ceremony, which can be a very intimate act that is meaningful because it involves only the immediate family and perhaps the very closest of friends, each of whom might wish to say a few very personal words. When scattering, they may wish to keep just a small portion of the ashes in a keepsake urn memorial, or in a cremation jewelry pendant.  

But more on life. There is an increasing number of people who are pre-planning their own funerals.  We like to make a statement, and recording our final wishes often will include our desire that friends and family celebrate life, rather than mourn death.  Some of us even provide a playlist of the music that has been meaningful to our life. Boomers have always liked a good party, and many are making statements with their final fete - even with a simple request such as holding their life celebration at a location like their ski lodge, golf course, bowling alley, or some in their most sacred place, such as their garden.

Pre-planning can have a wonderful effect on one's life, enhancing mindfulness about how precious every day is, and that our time on earth is limited, each of us with a mystery expiry date. None of us knows how long we'll be here, and appreciating the time we have, in the present moment, is a life-affirming act.  I know one very astute lovely elderly lady who has bought her cremation urn well in advance, so she can enjoy it as a flower vase until it is needed as an urn for her ashes.

I have put a free, printable work-sheet on my web site, called Funeral Planning 101, so that anyone who wants to express their final wishes can easily do so.  Simply print out the work-sheet, fill in the blanks, and put it with your Will or any other documents you may want to provide for easing the burden of your loved ones' decision making at the time of your passing.

As my Grampa often said, "No one gets out alive."  He used to say this with a twinkle in his eye, a scotch in his hand, and a wry smile that bespoke his knowledge of the subject - he was a doctor, and a person who lived a good, long and very full life with a great sense of humor.  And a finely tuned appreciation for life.

Barbara Bergen is a designer who collaborates with top artists to create beautiful cremation urns and keepsakes.  This collection of artworks may be seen in her web store, Cremation Urns by Legacy.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Discount Code for Cremation Urns

We would like to help you find a truly beautiful funeral urn or keepsake with which to create a memorial to your loved one. So we are offering a 10% Discount Code, FPC10.
Poppies Keepsake Memento

It's so important to find an urn or keepsake memento that captures the essence of your loved one's spirit.  And creating a beautiful memorial is an affirming step in the process of grieving and healing.

We have set up this 10% discount for all items in our web store, including cremation urns, keepsakes and pet urns.  This Coupon Code, FPC10, is easy to use.  Simply find an item or a number of items you would like, add to cart, proceed to checkout, and enter the coupon code FPC10 in the coupon code window, then click 'apply'.  Your entire purchase will be immediately discounted by 10%, and Free Ground Shipping is still included.  The only items that are excluded from the 10% discount are Air Express Shipping and Gift Cards.

Meadow Cremation Urn
These artistic cremation urns and keepsakes are crafted by hand and signed by the artist, and are designed to uplift and inspire loving memories for years to come. We offer a no questions asked refund policy, although in 10 years, we have never had an item returned.  In fact, most people find our products are even more beautiful in person than they appear in photographs on our web site.  Many of the pieces in our collection have an iridescent sheen that is not easy to see in photography.  This iridescent glaze gives these funeral pieces an ethereal, shimmering quality that is much more apparent to the eye in person.
Medium Spheres are Appropriate as Partial-containment Urns (for sharing the ashes among family members) or as Pet Urns

Mini Urn Keepsake


We hope you'll use this 10% discount coupon code, FPC10, to find an urn or keepsake that resonates with you, and that beautifully reflects the unique style and spirit of your loved one.

Barbara Bergen works with top glass artists, who sign the extraordinary funeral urns and keepsakes that are represented at Cremation Urns by Legacy

Friday, January 10, 2014

Cremation Urns by Size

How do we know what size of cremation urn to buy? There is a simple rule of thumb for choosing the right size urn to contain the ashes from your loved one - it is this: 1 pound of body weight = 1 cubic inch of ashes.  This rule over-compensates for differences in body composition, because 1 pound of body weight actually renders a little less than 1 cubic inch of ash, also known as cremains.

For ease of finding and choosing the right size funeral urn for your loved one, we have created a search function in our web site that enables you to search by urn size, on this page called Cremation Urns by Size.

Full Size Adult Urn and Matching Keepsakes
Urns for ashes come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common standard size for an adult urn is 200 cubic inches, such as the Meadow urn pictured here.  This sphere-topped urn contains the cremains from a person up to 200 pounds within the urn vessel, and the additional 12 cubic inch sphere top may hold mementos such as wedding rings, photos, a poem or a lock of hair, separately from the ashes.  However, there are many full size urns available that are smaller, and also many that are larger than the standard 200 cubic inches.  The span of sizes resembles sizes in clothing, ranging from small to extra large.

There are also various sizes in keepsake urns.  Sometimes a family will wish to choose a full size urn for their loved one, as well as one or more keepsakes, such as the matching Meadow sphere or keepsake glass heart shown here.  Keepsakes may function as vessels for a portion of the ashes, or they may serve as a memorial only.  For example, our spherical keepsake urn holds up to 12 cubic inches of ashes, and may be engraved on its brass closure and/or on its brass ring stand with name, dates and a few loving words.  Our keepsake heart contains no ashes at all, but is intended instead as a consoling heirloom memorial which may be laser engraved on the back, and is sized to fit perfectly in the palm of one's hand.

The most difficult loss of all is that of a child, and creating a memorial can be one of the most healing acts in the process of moving through such deep grief.  Some of our Keepsake Urns may be used as Infant Cremation Urns, and most of these may be engraved to create a beautiful in-home memorial.

We are hopeful that your search for the perfect urn for your loved one is made easier with the help of the size search function in our site.  Searching Cremation Urns by Size will distill the choices to the closest size to your loved one's weight.  You will want to be sure that the ashes will all be contained within the urn of your choice, and of course, you can always choose an urn that is bigger than necessary.

Barbara Bergen is Designer and CEO for Cremation Urns by Legacy, whose collection of extraordinary funeral urns is meant to uplift and inspire loving memories for years to come.