Bruce Lee said, “The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.” Sometimes, an event, person, or milestone is so pivotal to our lives that we want to carry the memory with us. We collect baby hair, first teeth, roses from weddings, and even ashes from our deceased loved ones. We store them in baby books, photo albums, trinket boxes, and urns. This past month, I decided to preserve one of my most precious memories with handmade memorial bead jewelry by CraftyCompliments.
My Precious Whiskers
I am an animal person. No really. I have 5 cats. Throughout my life, I’ve had dogs, birds, cats, ferrets, hamsters, and fish. I even had one cat that I raised from a tiny kitten so small she wobbled instead of walking. Her name was Whiskers.
A couple of neighborhood kids trekked down my long, wooded, driveway with this tiny, tailless kitty thinking that she belonged to me. We knocked on all the neighbor’s doors, but no one claimed her, so she became part of our family. My youngest son was still toddling and my oldest was only a preschooler. She grew up with my kids.
She exhibited patience as the boys dressed her in Santa hats, craved their attention and, sometimes, even slept on their beds at night, keeping a silent guard.
For me, she was my constant companion as I suffered through an abusive relationship, a painful divorce, 3 major moves, and a happy remarriage. She adopted my new husband and his children as part of the family, and even tolerated the traitorous adoption of 3 kittens. Granted, she was not thrilled with the latter, but she did eventually learn to co-exist.
My heart broke as she aged. No longer able to care for her long fur, I paid a groomer to shave her little body. Then, right before our scheduled move to return to Florida from Minnesota, Whiskers became unexpectedly seriously ill and died in my arms one cold January morning.
I was heart-broken that she wouldn’t make the trip with us. We had even bought 2 large pet playpens for the van. One for Whiskers – and the other one for the other three cats to share.
I knew that, at 20 years old, she had already lived well beyond most cats. But I felt completely unprepared. She was my best friend. I still miss her. In fact, as I write this, I am choking back tears.
We had her cremated so we could bring her ashes to Florida and bury her where she was born, in southern woods. We bought our home, nestled in wooded acreage and I even picked the perfect spot – but I still haven’t brought myself to bury her.
Memorial Bead Jewelry
While I’ve had many furry baby companions, including dogs, cats, fish, hamsters, ferrets, and birds, I had never felt a connection to another fur-child like I had with her.
When I saw this post featuring handmade memorial bead jewelry on the Crafty Compliments Facebook Page, I knew it was the perfect way to carry her memory with me.
A Whisker of a Memory
I got in touch with Angela, the crafter behind Crafty Compliments. She took the time to listen to my story about my poor, lost, kitty. She said she had just the thing. Using a pinch of Whisker’s ashes and a small fur lock, she created a beautiful, personalized memorial bead jewelry so that I can always have Whisker’s with me.
See the “glitter”? That’s actually Whisker’s ashes. According to Angela, no two beads come out the same, even if she uses similar materials in each of them. She can even add names, dates, and small images. I chose paw prints.
The handmade Pandora-style bead comes on a gorgeous, yet durable, chain, so I am not afraid of losing it while I am out and about.
Thankfully, Angela didn’t make me feel weird since Whiskers was “just a cat.” In fact, Angela’s sensitivity made the experience a breeze. She’s easy to work with, too.
Memorial Bead Ideas
In addition to memorializing pets, you can also memorialize people or events. Your own memorial bead jewelry is as unique as you are. What can she use to make yours? Baby hair, first teeth, ashes, wedding or funeral flowers, ashes, pieces of blankets or clothing… a piece of almost anything you treasure.
For many items, all she needs is a small pinch, so you don’t have to lose a precious item.
My memorial bead bracelet is a significant piece. Instead of having memories buried in a photo album or stuffed into a shoe box, you can carry them with you. For more ideas, look through the embedded Facebook album I posted above.
These would make a beautiful gift for a close friend or family member. Just make sure you ask permission to use the items you need memorialized.
We enjoy hosting parties and my husband and I are both avid gamers. You can find me on PS4 as SunshineFlaGirl. We also play tabletop RPGs and eurogames.
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