The practice of sending a deceased loved one off with objects from this earthly life is as old as mankind. Ancient Egyptians believed when a person died, they passed into “the afterlife.” Burial goods paralleled objects used in life because it was believed these same objects would be needed in the afterlife. Burial goods included food, drink, tools, make-up, jewelry, pots, gold, and the like.
Even though few people today believe anything placed in the casket will be used by the deceased in the afterlife the practice of placing objects in the casket is alive and well. Possibly it is because letting go of someone we love is so hard, we find comfort in sending something along with the deceased and keeping something that belonged to the deceased for ourselves.
Most casket manufacturers offer caskets that include a small compartment for mementos family members may want to place with their loved one. Many people like to put a personal note in the compartment. A note can allow mourners to express their emotions or to share a thank you or even to say they are sorry or to express forgiveness for a wrongdoing. Grandchildren often like to put a drawing or love note in the little drawer of the casket. Sometimes it is wedding rings or even a golf ball that are buried with the person who died. What goes into the casket is as varied and individual as the person who has died and the family that loved them.
When we humans lose a wife or husband, mother or father, son or daughter, brother or sister, or dear friend, a hole is created in our life. The space that person held in our life is empty. Still, the love we had for them is not gone. Grieving is difficult and lasts for a good while. Anything that eases the pain, even a little, is good and welcome. Sending something off with the loved one is one way we find comfort. Another is to keep something - a remembrance.
Funeral homes usually offer a wide range of funeral goods for this purpose. There are teddy bears made from a grandfather’s flannel shirt or a gold or silver thumb print that can be worn on a chain or on a bracelet. For those who are cremated there is a whole line of cremation jewelry. These pieces will typically hold a small portion of the ashes. All one need do is ask their funeral director what is available. The answer will most likely reveal a wide variety of comforting options.
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