"...this cuddly urn will be my mother’s new home."
July 5, 2006 2:50 AM   Subscribe

"Our society really doesn't deal well with the whole dying process." No, it's not a hoax. Through the magic of soft teddy bears, pillows, and plush dogs or cats, you can hold your deceased loved one, thanks to Huggable Urns. It's founder, Alexandra, Lachini was inspired to form the enterprise after her recently departed father spoke to her. "All I wanted to do was hold him again, but the urn was hard and impersonal." For less than $100, her solution can be yours too.
posted by motherfather (34 comments total)
Wow. Tasteful, and a built-in family heirloom.

You can give your children the grandmother they never had...
posted by disillusioned at 2:57 AM on July 5, 2006

All well and good until the huggable urn becomes animated and hunts down the bastards who killed him.
posted by bcveen at 3:23 AM on July 5, 2006

ain't they adorable. Wonder if he would do a woopie cushion, for the eternal prankster
posted by twistedonion at 3:25 AM on July 5, 2006

This makes me sick for so many reasons.
posted by uncle harold at 3:33 AM on July 5, 2006

"Now I have something to be able to hold on to. She can join me in parties. I can dress her up for the holidays. It's as soft as a baby, almost."

Almost? Why not go all the way and have granny stuffed and mounted. Human Taxidermy isn't just a band, you know.
posted by three blind mice at 3:36 AM on July 5, 2006

For some folks it takes many years to process the grief of the loss of someone they love. This actually appears to be a very creative solution.

And let the snarkfest begin..
oh, wait, it already has.....
posted by HuronBob at 3:46 AM on July 5, 2006

I prefer diamonds.
posted by goo at 4:09 AM on July 5, 2006

I can understand the underlying sentiment of the product, but...its weird. Then again, I'm an advocate for not keeping relatives and loved ones in the house after they pass.
posted by Atreides at 4:24 AM on July 5, 2006

"Our society really doesn't deal well with the whole dying process."

And hugging anthropomorphised animals stuffed with the ashes of dead loved ones is supposed to be an improvement on burial or cremation?

HuronBob - the whole point of funerals is to say goodbye to a person and begin getting used to their absence, this looks to me like it would interfere with the grieving process, not provide a 'creative solution'. I mean, can you imagine how much you could fuck up a child by saying 'Your grandmother is inside this teddy bear!'.
posted by jack_mo at 4:38 AM on July 5, 2006

It's true -- letting go can be really hard.

The one part of Top Gun (Yikes -- can you believe that movie's twenty years old?) that didn't feel like pseudo-homoerotic posturing schlock or false-note shallow romance was the "Sir, you gotta let him go" sequence. It's weird how that came back to haunt me when both parents passed within about 10 months.

I used to scoff at people who had their pets stuffed and posed until I lost a cat who'd been a close friend for 14 years.
posted by pax digita at 4:42 AM on July 5, 2006

Grief does strange things to people. I feel sad for this woman, but I don't think this is a healthy way for people to deal with loss.
posted by D.C. at 4:46 AM on July 5, 2006

The problem is, I think, when we start to define the "healthy" and "unhealthy" ways for people to deal with grief. Each person finds his/her own way to let go, and they do it on a timeline that works for them.

My point above is that we should encourage folks to do what they need to do. I really don't think this is a bad thing. No worse than the urns that many keep after a death.

The question really becomes, do we need to be judgemental about how someone chooses to love.
posted by HuronBob at 5:11 AM on July 5, 2006

And in Catalhoyuk, the bones of grandma and grandpa would be shoved under the bed.

My mom has announced that if dad dies first, she's going to take his urn on a tour around the world.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:22 AM on July 5, 2006

I sell necklaces and earrings that are specifically made to hold cremated human remains. Seriously.
posted by ColdChef at 6:21 AM on July 5, 2006

I honestly don't know how I feel about this.

The testimonial page both made me feel happy for the people who feel like they have more of a sense of closure, but also creeped out by the pictures and the fact that some of them dress up the Teddy Bears.

And the news story about the woman taking the remains of her daughter to her husband's murder trial?

I really don't know how to react.

Part of me thinks it's therapeutic and understands the value, the other half of me keeps coming back to Anthony Perkins in Psycho.

But urns themselves ARE kind of weird. If Big Lebowski proved anything, it's that the cremains don't care what receptacle they are placed in.

And I'd feel more at ease with this than with a pet or loved one being preserved through taxidermy.
posted by motherfather at 6:52 AM on July 5, 2006

Necklaces I kinda understand, but earrings???
posted by PenDevil at 6:59 AM on July 5, 2006

KirkJobSluder: My mom has announced that if dad dies first, she's going to take his urn on a tour around the world.

Your mom sounds like an extremely cool individual. Would it be too much for your dad to ask for the tour before the urning? Hell, maybe they can bring along the urn and photograph it in exotic locales (like some people do with kidnapped garden gnomes).

Best wishes for long life and good health for both of them.
posted by hangashore at 7:06 AM on July 5, 2006

I hate the word 'cremains'.

I did not know this until just now.
posted by empath at 7:31 AM on July 5, 2006

I'm with you, empath. There's something inherently creepy about that word.
posted by raedyn at 8:34 AM on July 5, 2006

I'm gonna have a custom bike built with my loved one's ashes, errr, cremains safely sealed inside the frame tubes. Then I'll take them for rides. Sound good?
posted by fixedgear at 8:43 AM on July 5, 2006

I hate the word 'cremains'.

How in the world did that become a real word? It's like talking about fast food or something. What exactly was wrong with "ashes"?
posted by teleskiving at 9:42 AM on July 5, 2006

I'd love to know what Jessica Mitford's take would be on all of this.
posted by blucevalo at 9:47 AM on July 5, 2006

I always thought cremains was the stuff left on your cumrag...
/me ducks and covers...
posted by symbioid at 10:14 AM on July 5, 2006

You say cremains because it is short for cremated remains.

I don't like the idea of stuffed animals, jewelry or gems to be used for cremains because the thought alone of loosing any of them is horrifying.

I can ony imagine what would happen if a dog mistook a teddy bear filled with grandma's cremains instead of going for thie usual plush toy.
posted by echolex at 10:26 AM on July 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

"Cremains" is not my favorite word either, but "ashes" is a much worse word when it comes to describing what you get back. In appearance it's much more like a combination of sand, gravel, dust, ash, and strange black crumbly bits. It's most certainly not like what you'd find in your fireplace.

And you'd be surprised how many people have their loved one cremated and then never return to retrieve the...remnants.
posted by ColdChef at 10:55 AM on July 5, 2006

From the site:The Teddy Bears, Dog and Cat are made to hold smaller
portions, where as the pillows will hold the remains of an adult.

So grandma ain't no teddy. Just little billy. Or possibly also little fido, if the testimonials are anything to go by.

Personally, I find it squicky, but am happy for the people who find joy in it, and it appears they do. Go, freakazoids!
posted by Sparx at 2:18 PM on July 5, 2006

Well, if you read all of the site, you've read the case of the mother who was split up in several teddy bears so that all her children could have her watching over them.
posted by motherfather at 2:44 PM on July 5, 2006

People cope in weird, weird ways. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is an organization that "advocates" photo shoots of parents and their just-dead or about-to-die babies.

I freaked out the first time I came upon their website. Freaked out big time, so do be advised.
Recently, though, I went back and took time to read the parents' comments. Basically, they want to have pictures of their child. Period. The fact that the child might be dead when photographed is the disturbing part, but apparently the time they are forced to spend holding and caressing the body for the photo shoot actually helps them part. It seems the whole thing is done in an extremely delicate, peaceful and respectful atmosphere, right at the hospital, and the photographers do it completely free of charge.

The argument that convinced me to look at the whole thing positively was a mother that said she was terrified of forgeting her baby's face. That is a very commom fear to people who lose loved ones, and this photo thing does solve at least this part of the never-ending grieving process.

Some parents, however, choose to have portraits of their stillborn babies. Some died at 20, 22 weeks of pregnancy, so I guess you could, arguably, call them fetuses not babies. Maybe I'm wrong about this. But anyway, the point is that they are formed but not completely "finished", and the way they look dressed and being held is really, really disturbing.

Still, good for the parents. It's a very real, concrete tool to help them cope.
posted by AnyGuelmann at 4:25 PM on July 5, 2006

Personally, I just want my ashes/cremains scattered...somewhere. My daughter says she'll keep us on her mantle. I don't want to be "kept" anywhere. Two generations later, who's gonna want me? And I agree with echolex-what about losing your loved ones? (I must say, the mental picture I got about Fido tearing up "Grandma" made me laugh).
posted by annieb at 4:27 PM on July 5, 2006

Oh for fuck's sake.

Sir Henry Rawlinson said it best:

"Afterlife, aftershave, don't hold with any of it! I don't give a toss what you've done with me when I've shrugged off m' mortal coil... shove a bit of flex up m' back passage, stick a lightbulb in m' mouth and stand me in the hall."
posted by Decani at 5:48 PM on July 5, 2006

"Our society really doesn't deal well with the whole dying process."

And it's because of distorted crap like this
posted by HTuttle at 7:59 PM on July 5, 2006

I would not mind being made into a diamond, but I don't think I'd like wearing a diamond that used to be a person. No matter how beloved they were. Hmm.
posted by moonshine at 9:41 PM on July 5, 2006

"Cremains" sounds a little too much like "Craisins" to me.
posted by pax digita at 9:21 AM on July 6, 2006

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