WAY volunteer organises glass-blowing activity for young widowed people

June 2024

Following a successful craft event earlier this year, WAY volunteer Jodie decided to organise a glass-blowing activity for local WAY members, allowing young widows and widowers to incorporate their loved ones’ ashes into their creations if they wanted to.

Here, two WAY members, Mike and Heather, share their experiences:

Mike’s story

“I was excited about making a keepsake and being able to include some of my wife’s ashes in the creation, but I had felt very emotional the night before while decanting some into the container.

Some of us were on our first WAY outing, whereas others had met before, but everyone was very friendly and welcoming. The day started with a demonstration of how to make a glass paperweight. John (the artist) made it look very easy!

I jumped at the chance to go first. Despite a few teething problems, I managed to get a decent shaped blob on the end of the steel rod and was able to build up alternating layers of coloured crushed glass and clear glass. I also created a void in the centre that I could press some ashes into, making the blob of ashes visible in the middle of the swirl of colours.

The afternoon’s project was more difficult as it involved runnier glass, larger quantities on the end of the rod, multiple colours, and ashes. To top it all, you have to repeatedly blow down the hollow rod while simultaneously rotating it to prevent it all from dropping on the floor. John supported us by intervening when necessary, and I managed to create a beautiful blue vase with a spiral of ashes running around it. I was pleased with the outcome. Many thanks to Jodie for organising such a brilliant activity.”

Heather’s story

“I will eventually put Steve’s ashes into the sea in Cornwall as he requested. For now, however, they are at home with me. Some have been scattered in a local place that was special to us as a family, but I had a nagging feeling that I wanted some to be closer by too. Close by meant at home; however, memorial jewellery and some of the other options just didn’t seem right for us.

As soon as the glass-blowing event came up, I booked it. It just felt right because it was something I could contribute to myself and feel part of. I felt as though Steve would have approved too, as he was very practical and would have enjoyed the process of glass blowing.

Strangely, a week before the event, our puppy broke a glass bowl that Steve and I had bought in Cornwall some years previously. It wasn’t the first time it had broken, and it had cracks where Steve had glued it back together for me. This time, it was irreparable, but knowing that the glass-blowing event was coming up and that I would have a replacement was reassuring. I’m looking forward to having its replacement at home with us and feeling that Steve and I did this one final thing together. Thanks, Jodie.”

Local volunteers like Jodie organise meet ups and events for WAY members across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – helping young widowed people like Heather and Mike to find friendship, support and understanding.