Thursday, July 28, 2016

Death and the Model Railroader: Ashes to Ashes

Before he died in 2014, my brother-in-law, Ken Epp, asked his family to scatter his ashes in his favorite place: The Thompson River Canyon in B.C., near the railway tracks.

His wife and kids are doing that this week. Before they left for B.C., they asked if anyone would want some of Ken’s ashes for a memorial.

I asked for a small amount, which I placed inside a sealed bag in a boxcar. Not just any boxcar, but one I bought at the last train show we attended together (just a few weeks before he died).

After placing the ashes in the car, I gave it a trip around the layout. 

Before, whenever I saw that car on the layout, it reminded me of him. Now it carries more than just a memory; it literally carries a bit of him as well.

Some might find it ghoulish, but for me it’s a way to remember Ken. Not only that—and I know this would make him smile—it’s a way he can “ride” trains on my layout!

(I am also making a small N scale layout in honour of Ken, inspired by the Thompson River Canyon area. Click here to see it.)

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea! I don't feel this is at all 'ghoulish'. My grandfather and I built and ran our own layout in his home for 40 years before he became unable to live on his own and I had to dismantle it (I kept a small section which I still operate). Model railroading is how we spent almost all our time together. I am going to ask him if I can do this with some of his ashes after he passes. I would absolutely love to be able to continue running our trains with him in this way!