A story has been going around the internet this about a custom urn that was created as a replica of a White Castle hamburger. Even though I am resolutely for all forms of personalization, my initial reaction was that maybe this was kind of tacky. (And you can call me a snob.) You know—have an awesome funeral, make it your own, but don’t lose all respect.
But after reading the story, I am completely sold on the idea, and thought it would make a good example for the blog. Hey, it’s not everyone’s taste, but like in all of life, we should be doing what lights us up, not other people. Things to consider (while keeping in the back of your mind how this compares to your own perspectives and preconceptions):
• It’s 100% personal. Duh. But that is the whole point. Its uniqueness is its virtue; they didn’t settle for an off-the-shelf number that didn’t evoke any feelings. They recognized that this (death) is exactly the time to be creative. We find healing when our heart is in something, the more heart the better.
• It’s about a specific and very fond memory: how they would run off to White Castle after chemo treatments, saying “Let’s treat ourselves.” I can practically see these sisters doing that, and the lighthearted delight it would be for them.
• It’s fun! We must never diminish the impact that FUN has in our lives. It’s not frivolous or silly (or tacky)‚ it’s crazy-appropriate. Cancer and dying is not a good time, but finding, and choosing to remember the good times—that is golden.
• They weren’t too caught up in appearances to do it. How many people would worry about what other people thought? We are so guilty of selling out our secret desires because of wanting to look ‘dignified,’ especially in the case of funerals. NOT A TIME TO CARE what other people think. Once the funeral is over, everyone else goes back to their lives, the bereaved are alone to forge ahead and carry on while missing someone so deeply. We all deserve whatever it is that will help us ease our sorrow.
• Most importantly, this wacky urn is going to over and over bring a smile to the face of the surviving sister. Instead of holding on to her sadness, she’s choosing to focus on the bonding experiences and the laughs they shared. Life’s best moments are often not exalted; they are literally the stolen trips to White Castle for little square burgers and the joy that brings.
And a huge P.S. that is perhaps the best of all—White Castle, so touched by this memorialization, made a $10,000 donation to the American Cancer Society. And THAT is an example of how inspiring our most heartfelt and personal actions are when people hear them.
The ripple effect of our acting from our hearts is breathtaking. Being generic and boring is not inspiring.
Put a little life into your last wishes, and in memorializing your favorite people when they go.
(The company that made this custom urn [from a 3-D printer!] is Foreverence.)