Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Prayer Shawls

For me, the beauty of crafts is the sense that they are handmade. This may be self-evident, but when you think about how someone took the time to make something with their own hands - the care invested in the item makes it that much more meaningful.

Made With Love is an organization in Baton Rouge that takes this concept to its ultimate expression. They're a crafting ministry, creating lovely handmade items with prayers and love. Their Prayer Shawls are knit for those in need of love. Here's how it's described on their website:

The shawl itself is made of soft yarn (or fabric) so the recipient can wrap up in it and feel God’s arms around him or her. Many blessings are put into every shawl. The creator begins each one with prayers and blessings for the recipient, which are continued throughout the creation of the shawl. The blessing is rippled from person to person, with both the giver and receiver feeling the unconditional embrace of a sheltering, loving God.

Whether it's grieving a loved one or healing from an illness, these shawls will be knit with prayers for your healing. What a lovely concept! I don't know how many craft ministries there are, but I hope this idea catches on.

Modern Mourning Jewelry

I find myself over and over returning to Victorian-inspired mourning jewelry. I'm not a goth or steampunk gal, it's just something about the somber mood of these pieces by Mata Hari Jewelry that I find enticing and appropriate.

I imagine this tiny heart and key charm as a piece that could given as a gift to comfort someone who's in mourning. Keep the heart, but place the key close to the one recently lost. If they are to be buried, then the key could be placed in their hand or in a pocket. If the loved one has been cremated, the key could be placed in the ashes. Someday the two will be reunited.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Remembrance Tree Papers

Trees have always been connected to our sense of life as well as loss. For the Victorians, specific trees had specific messages, from the grief of the weeping willow to the weathered yet resilient oak. Throughout the generations and across cultures, the tree represents the wellspring of life.

That’s why Remembrance Tree Papers seems like such a timeless and inspired concept. This company creates hand-crafted memorial items out of 100% recycled paper – from Memorial Bookmarks, Guest Registers and Service Invitations. Preserving the life of trees while remembering the life we’ve lost.

My favorite item is the Thank You Card, which comes with embedded wildflower seeds. The card can be planted, bringing forth flowers, a simple reminder of the love and sympathy that sustains us. What a lovely idea!

When in mourning, it’s important to be reminded of regeneration. In this spirit, Remembrance Tree Papers (along with Trees for the Future) will plant a tree in honor of your loved one when you order their memorial stationery products. It’s a gesture that benefits the environment and future generations.

"In Memory" Necklaces

Losing a child to miscarriage can be a tremendous loss. Yet I think that as a culture, we have not adequately grasped the language to express this kind of grief. Many people carry it as a secret anguish, which only heightens the heartache.

This "In Memory" Necklace created by Catherine Marissa is a touching way to acknowledge that loss of a baby. As the artist says, "When I miscarried my twins, I felt a need to have a special reminder of the little people I didn't have a chance to meet. I wanted something simple and personal that I could wear with anything. Thus, the "In Memory" pendant was created."

This pendant can also be personalized for a pet. A paw print or a heart can replace the central symbol. I think this is a charming way to signify remembrance.

Although these Itty Bitty Raincloud Studs (also by Catherine Marissa) aren't specific to grief, I think they are a charming reminder of the clouds of grief we sometimes face, and how "this too shall pass." A kind of contemporary version of the Half-Mourning Period in Victorian grieving rituals.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Time Passes Ring

When we are grieving, time seems so unkind. It feels as if we will never move beyond, as if time has indeed stopped not just for those we've lost, but for ourselves as well. It's important to remember though that time does move, even if we can't comprehend it. Things will get better.

This "Time Passes" ring by Brighid's Forge is a gentle reminder that things will get better. It's a heavy ring, perhaps an appropriate piece to give to a father, brother, or any man who's lost someone - a more masculine version of mourning jewelry. This piece is sterling silver with oxidized letters, and you can request a custom size from the seller.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sympathy Print

I am quite fond of this Sympathy Print I'm So Sorry For Your Loss by Scottish artist Suzanne Wolcott. At 8" x 10", it's more than a card. The image conveys a sense of sorrow, avoiding those anxious words of encouragement when what we really need is to just be sad and grieve.