Keepsakes of our Loss

Before Zachary died, Aaron and I went to the funeral home that would be performing Zach’s cremation. We walked through a large room filled with wooden caskets. The sight made me nauseous; literally sick to my stomach. I kept my eyes on the floor, Aaron guiding me.

We passed through that room into a tiny, closet-like space. There, on a low shelf, was a tiny collection of urns – for children. Regular urns, for adults, are similar to the average flower vase in size, whereas for children, their bones being much smaller, the urns are petite. I remember weeping, furious I would have to make such a decision as the container for my child.

There were urns that looked like miniature versions of the adult containers but these felt so cold and impersonal. Aaron and I chose a heart shaped metal urn with etchings of flying birds on its face. It was the best choice in the midst of an impossible situation.

It has only been in recent months that I have learned about all the different companies that make less elderly looking cremation containers. This has been a revelation for me. Where I had so little choice before, now I finally feel like I can honor Zachary with something special.

I have listed some of the companies I have discovered on my resource page.

Where before I felt I had little selection, now I realized I had an abundance of choice. To be honest I was a little overwhelmed with everything available but I did find one keepsake I liked on one of my supporter’s websites. It resonated with me. After much deliberation I decided on the Sail Away keepsake.


What I love about this keepsake:

  • It’s a small urn where I can store some of Zachary’s ashes and have him close to my heart.
  • It gives me a way to remember my son every day.
  • The keepsake is beautiful. This was an important part of my decision because I want to be proud to wear it and not feel like a walking mortuary. Also, the fact that it’s neutral in color means I can wear it with any outfit – heck, I’m a girl, I want to look nice!
  • The description of the keepsake says ‘Sail’ but I see it differently. I see two legs. It’s like someone is dancing. Or that there is one foot on earth and one foot in heaven. When I think about Zachary, I love the idea that he is up somewhere in a place of peace, or a part of nature’s dance that swirls all around me – while he still also reaches down to be with me. I hope that doesn’t sound too corny! I’m a bit of a sentimentalist.

It means so much to me to have something special to remind me of Zachary. I would encourage anyone who has lost a child to find ways to remember. It may be a keepsake or a special place you visit every so often or a song you can sing.

Remembering is so important. It does not anchor us to the past but brings those we love and lost into our present, and our future. 

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