WAILUA — As Lori Kizer spoke to her daughter as she lay in her hospital bed, she knew she would never again see the smiling face of her child.
But as grief threatened to consume her heart, the Wailua woman decided to give others who have experienced that pain a way to hold on to their child forever.
“My real passion is to reach out to help somebody heal,” the artist said. “Especially parents who have lost their child.”
Kizer made her dream of helping others a reality by fashioning pieces known as “Remember Glass.”
As Kizer fires glass in her kiln, she sprinkles the ashes of a loved one onto the piece and heats a second piece over it, fusing the pieces of glass together and preserving it.
Kizer gives the pieces away to parents who have lost their child.
“That healing process it brings to others is my favorite part,” Kizer said. “It’s unique and I’ve had people, a lot of people, tell me that it’s helped them through their grieving process.”
Kizer began to create the unique keepsakes when her daughter, Nicole, died in 2009 after suffering from depression, bipolar disorder and drug use.
Nicole had shared a special bond with her mother, as she also loved to draw and paint.
“She was an incredible artist,” Kizer said. “She was awesome.”
The artist says it’s through her child’s spirit that she is able to create her works for those whose hearts are broken.
“It’ll be six years in July and I tear up whenever I think about it, but I do believe she gives me inspiration,” Kizer said. “I do believe we’re all connected.”
Kizer can add other organic materials to fuse into the glass, including sand, hair and gravesite soil — making her creations unique to those who receive them. She also presents her glass creations to those who have lost pets.
Kizer said that the hardest part is hearing the stories of those who have lost a loved one, but she understands their pain and is able to connect with them.
“It’s my way of helping them heal, which in turn helps me heal as well,” she said. “I feel sorry for them who have lost someone. It’s nice that I can do something to help someone in their grieving process.”
Kizer’s works include glass jewelry and everyday items, such as bowls and vases. She also uses recycled wine bottles and has created wind chimes to brighten up people’s days.
Kizer’s other Remember Glass pieces or pocket stones are available for purchase. The first piece is at the suggested price of $25 with $10 for each additional piece ordered at the same time.
In order to create her works, Kizer heats the glass to 1,500 degrees, causing the organic materials she places inside to turn to ash. Once the glass pieces have fused together, it takes two to three hours to cool. If it’s needed, Kizer will also place the glass back into the kiln to give it a shiny finish.
Arizona resident Bill Wheeler wears his Remember Glass around his neck in honor of his wife, Shirley.
“My wife’s ashes are embedded in the glass heart,” he said. “I actually feel that my wife is with me now and it makes me feel a lot better. My wife and I were married for 30 years and we were together for 35 all together.”
Having lost his wife in 2014, Wheeler has attempted to move on with the help of support groups, but the process has been challenging.
“My wife and I were really, really close and this is the first thing, in the six to seven months, Lori’s Remember Glass, that has helped me,” Wheeler said.