Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Elf on the Urn

Many of you are already aware that my sister's husband passed away suddenly a few weeks ago.   While the sadness of the situation is overwhelming at times, my family has a special knack for inappropriate humor and finding something to laugh at in the midst of tragedy.  It's how we get by.

My boys have been very inquisitive about death and dying recently.  I was a little surprised given that they are pretty much professional mourners, attending dozens of wakes and funerals each year.  Yet I failed to recognize until now that their uncle was the first person they really knew well.  Most of the services they have attended involved parents of friends, neighbors, etc...nobody that was really part of their lives. 

Jack has taken to drawing countless pictures of his uncle in a casket and playing ice hockey as an "angel" (wearing wings). He has been insisting I give these to his aunt as soon as possible, and I've been waffling about whether I should

In talking with Megan, she encouraged me to let the boys work this all out however they can, and she specifically requested their drawings.  I'm cringing a bit, but Megan has always given kids a little more leeway and acceptance than I have.  I am Captain Von Trapp, ready to blow my whistle at any time.   She's more like Willy Wonka.

Megan has her own 6 year old son who is trying to cope with the loss of his father.  Her son has asked that his father's urn be placed in his room each night so the little boy can talk to his dad.  He even placed a Santa's hat on top to include his father in the Christmas holiday.

Megan, recognizing the mourning process, irony, and the humor of it all, picked the perfect place to stash their Elf on a Shelf yesterday:

I asked her if it was okay to share the photo, as which time she replied, "it will be the first time he made your blog!"

Holy crap, our family is nuts.  But I wouldn't have it any other way.


  1. Love this! Sounds like our families have similar twisted senses of humor... But we do what works for us, right?! Especially during times like this. Sending thoughts and prayers your way during this first Christmas without your brother-in-law.

  2. I think humor is a vital coping mechanism in a trying times. Most police officers and firemen use it when dealing with horrific events, that most would cringe at seeing. My condolences to your sister, her son and your family.

    I too or my family of 6 siblings lost our father when he was a young 45. Totally unexpected also. I was 9. If you have an email url, I'd love to share more.

    Take care...

  3. I'm so sorry. That's really funny though. I love that they put a Santa hat on the urn. Sounds like a great step to healing.

  4. Ok, you've just made an already emotional women even more emotional.
    A very moving post.

  5. Kathy - Thank, Kathy! I know we can't be the only twisted folks out there.

    Maplewood - I am so sorry about your early loss. I'm sure you still carry that with you. Email me at

    Ali - Laughing and healing seem to go hand in hand, right?

    Lily - Sorry, Lily! I'll get back to regularly-scheduled programming shortly. (: Your post today is awesome.