When Reddit user Emperor_Zar’s wife died suddenly he looked for a way to bring some peace to his family. The memorial project he devised in her honor, which deliberately involved the couple’s two grieving children, is so touching that you’ll be moved to tears.
Emperor_Zar posted the sad news about his wife to Reddit in March 2016. He wrote that she had passed away “unexpectedly” the previous month, with her death leaving the couple’s two children – a son and a daughter – without a mom.
The widower started thinking about a symbolic way that he and his children could remember her by. So he devised a project, with the help of his son, that his wife would have loved had she lived to see it.
“Everything that one could imagine a widower with 2 kids is going through, I am,” Emperor_Zar wrote on Reddit. “However I thought this would be a positive way of going through the grieving process.”
Once his tribute was complete he revealed it to his followers. “I wanted to share this as I hope this will help others maybe facing something similar, and to help with my grieving process,” the widower explained. He couldn’t have anticipated how they would react.
The outpouring of support Emperor_Zar received was overwhelming. But he didn’t just get messages of support – the widower also had correspondence from Reddit users who’d suffered their own losses.
By making the tribute and sharing it online with a receptive community Emperor_Zar has managed to heal some of the wounds inflicted by his wife’s death. “I am humbled,” he later wrote. “This was not expected.”
Emperor_Zar and his wife loved candles, so it made sense for his tribute to utilize them. His first step was therefore to collect all the candles that he and his wife had bought together over the previous year.
Only candles that had enough wax would do. Once Emperor_Zar sourced what he thought would be enough he had to work out how to use them as part of a fitting memorial.
The immediate challenge was working out how to remove the wax from the candle bases. In the end he froze each candle for around 30 minutes, though he marked a line in the wax with a heated knife beforehand.
Emperor_Zar thought a fitting way to remember his wife would be to layer the candles’ remains on top of each other. “In my mind’s eye I thought that making this candle would be a good way to remember her,” he explained.
The idea was that each fragrance would bring back another memory of his departed wife. “The special time that we will burn it will allow us to ‘smell’ her,” Emperor_Zar wrote, “or have the house smell like her.”
Emperor_Zar melted down nine pieces of shattered wax, each of which had a unique color and smell. His photos capture the melting and pouring of each recycled candle into his fragrant tribute.
Each scent in his memorial piece has a name. First there’s “meadow showers,” which is followed by “pink sands,” “fluffy towels” and “sundress.”
It was “true rose” – manufactured by Yankee Candle – that was Emperor_Zar’s late wife’s favorite candle scent. And so the widower used a “true rose” jar to house his tribute candle, with the scent topping its numerous layers.
Having described the scent as “a must,” Emperor_Zar must have felt a sense of pride that his tribute candle was coming together. By all accounts it smelled pretty good, too.
It was important for the widower to create the candle with the help of his eight-year-old son – it would form part of their grieving process, after all. “My youngest…helped with melting and stirring,” Emperor_Zar recalled. “I did the wax removal and pouring. Safety glasses were used!”
When the candle was completed and shared online the widower was pleasantly surprised by the feedback he received. “I want to say again to everybody who has commented, and or has sent me a private message, or share their stories in particular, that it means so much.”
Fellow Reddit users were deeply moved by Emperor_Zar’s efforts. MyWerkinAccount wrote, “23 year old bearded dude here, tearing up at my work desk at 00:45. I don’t even have a wife.”
The tribute was obviously worth it for Emperor_Zar, even if it did take “a ton of time” to complete. The widower’s creation can’t bring his wife back, but it can remind him – and the two children – of the special times they shared together.