North Saanich woman hopes missing urn turns up

Renate Herberger wonders how a glued-down urn with her son's ashes could go missing.

North Saanich’s Renate Herberger sits at a memorial bench that commemorates her late son

Renate Herberger misses her son, Silvan, who died tragically in 2012.

The North Saanich woman is feeling the hurt of losing a son all over again after discovering last month that an urn containing a portion of Silvan’s cremated remains has gone missing from a park bench.

Herberger had glued a colourful, small urn to a bench along the Scoter Trail below Tapping Road off of West Saanich Road in Deep Cove on the Saanich Peninsula. It was a remembrance, she says, and a place to visit to connect with her feelings and to heal.

That urn, however, is missing.

Herberger says she placed the urn there in September 2014. After returning from a long distance swimming trek on March 10, she visited the bench and it was still there.

“Within 24 hours … it was gone,” she says.

Herberger says she thinks someone had to have pried the urn from the bench, breaking the glue’s seal.

It is an eight-sided, hand-painted urn of Mexican design, itself sealed with a bag of ashes inside.

She says whoever took it probably didn’t know what it was and she hopes they’ll return it.

Herberger has reported the loss to the RCMP but isn’t holding out hope that the police will find it.

“I just want it brought back,” she says, adding she feels the loss of the urn personally.

The bench itself has a plaque dedicated to her son, Silvan Skye Valeska Herberger, and she doesn’t understand how someone could, in essence, rob a memorial site.

She hopes by getting the word out, someone might know something, or the urn will be returned to the bench.

“It was my place to meditate, a place of remembrance of life.”

Silvan was only 23 when he took his life, something Herberger, who gave an interview to the PNR in September of 2014, thinks of every day.

“He was so young and he had his whole life ahead of him. He was an incredibly passionate, loyal and beautiful luminous individual, and that’s how I will always remember him,” she said.