What Did Gary Coleman Want Done With His Ashes?

Emily Abbate
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Gary ColemanIt's been almost a year since the death of Diff'rent Strokes star Gary Coleman. The 42-year-old died suddenly after falling down the stairs in his Utah home, hitting his head. Ultimately suffering from an epidural hematoma, Coleman passed away the next day and was cremated last June.

As for his ashes, they've been sitting on the desk of the lawyer who is overseeing Coleman's estate. But that's not where his ex-wife, Shannon Price, would like them. Nope. She'd much rather wear them. Around. Her. Neck.

Am I the only one who's freaked out by this?

Price has high hopes that the court will fulfill her wishes to be named Coleman's common-law wife. What's that mean? Well ... she'll have full access to his assets, and then she'll be able to do what she pleases with ... everything. According to her rep, Shiela Erickson, Price is just trying to honor her former husband's wishes:

Shannon wants to do a road trip and honor Gary's wishes to spread some of his ashes on the Golden Spikes and she wants to put some in a necklace around her neck, so she always has Gary with her.

OK. I understand the whole concept of the train tracks thing. Clearly Coleman had an appreciation for one of America's first transcontinental railroads, and I respect that. But, really I'm sorry, I can't get past this ashes around the neck thing. At one point in their relationship, Coleman had a restraining order against Price. Also, the couple was legally divorced for two years prior to his death. So why does Price want his ashes so badly?

To see if I a) am weird, b) have been living under a rock, or c) have company, I went straight to the gods at Google to find out if this is common practice. So what did I find? Well, Price isn't alone. Actually, there are websites dedicated to ashes keepsake jewelry. Heart shapes ... urn shapes ... pendants; there's an endless selection. Alas, here I am with my mouth gaping. No way. Ever.

I recently lost my grandfather, and I have a picture of him on my desk at work to remind me of the good times. If he was cremated (which he was not) -- I just don't think I would want to wear his ashes around my neck in a keepsake necklace. What if something happened to it? What if I misplaced it or a link came loose? What if someone else found it and wore it having no idea of its personal significance? Are these things that Price has thought of?

Either way, one thing's for sure: There's no reason for his ashes to be desk-side in Utah. If the child star wanted his ashes at the point of the Golden Spikes, then that's where they should be.

Have you ever purchased keepsake jewelry? What do you think about wearing the ashes of someone you love?


Image via Nevada Tumbleweed/Flickr

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