I am the 8th of 12 children (from the same 2 parents), raised with 7 brothers, 4 sisters and 2 nephews that I consider to be brothers as well…so that is actually 14 of us. I must mention that I was my daddy’s favorite and was quite the brat, if you were to ask my siblings. We grew up in a tiny 3BR house in the then small town of Irving, Texas. My mother was strict and my father was fun, but they both had a lot of love for all of us kids and a strong belief in God. My father used to say, “The family that prays together, stays together”…and so we did… Every Sunday evening, my father would call us to the living room to gather and say our prayers. When his brothers were in town, they’d pull out their guitars and at 5 years old I would climb up on the coffee table and dance. It was a pathetic little bunny hop dance that one of my brothers still teases me about, but at 5 years old, I was the queen of table top dancing and enjoyed every moment of it!
With so many older brothers and boys in the neighborhood, I played a lot of flag football, kickball, dodge ball and baseball. My sisters and other girls in the neighborhood also joined in. Everyone looked out for each other.
My older brothers would walk us to the bowling alley, which took an hour to get to. It was a brutal walk because of the heat and humidity. We were always so happy to get inside the bowling alley where the freezing cold air felt so wonderful after the long, hot and humid trek. My sisters and I would walk to the mall, which was directly behind our house, across a huge field. We wore down a trail through the high grass and weeds. We were always afraid of coming across a rattlesnake, but it never stopped us from going, and thankfully, we never saw one.
We were all mischievous as ever. We all attended a parochial school, so I was exposed to Scripture and teachings of Jesus from very early on in my life. I was also raised going to church on Sundays with a fried chicken dinner that followed every week. My father cooked Sunday’s fried chicken dinner and Saturday morning’s breakfast.
I was very close to my father, so at 10 years old, I was completely devastated when I got the news of his death. I remember my uncle taking all of us younger kids to the back bedroom and telling us the news. Shock, fear and disbelief echoed throughout my entire body. It was the first and only time my knees gave way from under me and my older sister had to catch me and hold me up to keep me from falling to the floor.
Whether a loved one has been ill and the doctor has given an expected time of passing or the loss of a loved one is sudden and completely unexpected, one always begins their journey of healing with shock and total disbelief that the death of their loved one has truly just happened. The feeling of devastation is interconnected with the thought that this death of a loved one is impossible and was never supposed to happen.
As that young girl of only ten, when I lost my father to a car accident, I had no words to articulate what I was thinking and feeling, and I most certainly didn’t understand them at all. Thirty-two years later, as the family made preparations for Mary’s (my mother-in-law’s) funeral service, I experienced such a powerful feeling, very deep within my soul. It was the same undeniable sense that I had as a child, only this time I knew that “this was not supposed to happen; she was not supposed to die!” It took me a while to understand why I felt so deeply shocked, devastated and in such disbelief.
I came across a Scripture that started me on my true journey of healing. The more I meditated on this, the more I could make sense of those thoughts and feelings. Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet no one can fathom what he has done from beginning to end.”
The reason why the sense of shock at the loss of my loved ones was so strong was because God had placed eternity in my heart. I inherently knew that we were created to live eternally! Because of this, the “death” of my loved ones had caused every part of my inner-being to be shaken. In the end, only the truth remained and meaningful comfort began to bring peace that found its way to settle into my heart.
Learning to “fathom what He has done from beginning to end” is what brought me the greatest joy and healing after the loss of my loved ones. Going all the way back to the Garden of Eden...Genesis 2:9 "... in the midst of the garden was the tree of life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." God said to "freely eat" from every tree except the tree of knowledge. Adam ate from the wrong tree so, (Gen 3:24) "After He [God] drove them out, He placed cherubim and a flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life." God did not want to take a chance on man eating from the tree of life and living forever in the fallen state. Therefore, Jesus came to redeem us. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples: (John 20:19) "...Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you.'" Jesus also taught them saying, (John 6:51) " I am the living bread that came down from heaven, if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh which will give life to the entire world." (Titus 3:4-7) "...our Savior appeared, He saved us, through a washing of regeneration and a renewing of the Holy Spirit...that we might become heirs of eternal life."
Interestingly, the Greek literal translation of the word regeneration means, "return to genesis." In other words, Jesus came to return us to the beginning and once again give us access to the tree of life, which is actually Himself!
This is what God has done from beginning to end; He gave man access to the tree of life in the beginning and although eternal life was forfeited through Adam, it is through “the last Adam [Jesus]” (1Cor15) that we once again have access to eternal life! Jesus is the Alpha(Beginning) and the Omega(End).
What comfort, what hope to know that our loved ones have not died as the world knows death; they have merely passed on from this life to the next. They indeed live on and we will one day be reunited with them again! Not only that, but we will also be with the One that made it all possible, Jesus, Himself!
My husband, children and Mary’s sister’s also experienced a roller-coaster of emotions as they were not ready to accept Mary’s unexpected and quick departure either. They wanted to keep a piece of her with them in some way. Before she departed, Mary did ask to be cremated, prompting my husband’s wish for a piece of cremation jewelry that could carry some of his mother's ashes. The need for such jewelry was nothing new to me as I myself had wished for such from my own children just a year earlier. I asked my children to put some of my ashes in a piece of cremation jewelry and keep me close to their heart, literally, when my time arrives.
As the desire for such a pendant grew among the extended family, so did the desire for not just a "vessel", but for something much more meaningful – which led me down a very spiritual journey- leaving behind all the anger, confusion, and shock and ultimately designing a cremation urn pendant that would grant us the sense of comfort we were so desperately seeking.
The tree of life was chosen because of the truth and symbolism behind it. Our grief turned into comfort and hope as we were brought back to the truth of our eternal destiny found in Jesus- our tree of life. We found peace in the understanding that physical death is merely the bridge we cross in order to enter into our immortal fate to Live On® for eternity!
The Tree of Life .925 Silver Pendant is Heirloom Quality that will transcend time. The design of the tree’s leaves and trunk have symbolic meaning and defines the uniqueness and beauty of the pendant. I have spent the past seven years perfecting the unique design of the pendant to ensure a quality and durable memorial keepsake, not only for my family, but for other families wanting to memorialize their loved ones in such a unique, special and comforting way as well.
It is a true honor and privilege to introduce The Heirloom Tree of Life Cremation Jewelry Urn Pendant ~ The Pendant with Divine Purpose ~ To offer comfort and hope to those grieving the loss of a loved one.
My hope is that you and your family will find the peace, comfort and hope that my family and I have found in re-discovering the truth of our loved one's eternal destiny!
The pendant is designed with a hollow chamber to carry a small portion of your loved one’s cremated ashes with you always. It is our hope that it will also serve as a comfort and hopeful reminder that you WILL one day be reunited with your loved one – for they continue to Live On!
If you have chosen a traditional burial, this cremation jewelry urn pendant can also be used to hold a lock of hair, dried flowers from the memorial service or anything else you desire. There are no rules as to how you may fill and wear your cremation jewelry or how you choose to remember your loved one! We believe the tree of life design inspires the much needed hope and comfort through the journey of healing.
Our prayer is that as you wear your Tree of Life Cremation Jewelry Urn Pendant, you will make it through the healing journey- from a grieving soul to a spirit filled with living hope