A Winnipeg family is upset and looking for answers after they were given what they say is the wrong urn for their mother.

Darlene Dowhy’s mom Victoria had personally selected and paid more than $700 for an urn to match her husband’s more than 10 years before she passed away in 2011.

“They had very distinctive features, and you could tell that they are all matching. It was actually quite beautiful,” said Darlene. “That’s why we went with them because they had the blue and green like the ocean.”

Darlene Dowhy

Darlene Dowhy and her brother Derryl hold the ashes of her mother in the urn Green Acres Funeral Home gave her. They say the urn is not the one her mother, Victoria, hand-selected and paid for to match her husband's urn. (Alana Cole/CBC)

But when Darlene received the urn from Green Acres Funeral Home after her mother’s death, she knew something was wrong. Her family had been given the wrong urn, and it did not match her father's.

Not long after, Darlene went to the mausoleum that housed her father’s urns and found just steps away, a stranger’s ashes were being housed in an urn identical to the one her mom had picked out.

“It was horrifying. It was indescribable,” said Darlene.

She believes the urn her mom picked was re-sold to another family, and years later, the funeral home has still been unable to produce another one for Victoria’s ashes.

“It’s fine for them. They don’t have to live with this every day of their life. We do,” said Darlene. “We don’t have closure.”


Darlene Dowhy's father's urn is on display at the Holy Angel Mausoleum. (Courtesy Dowhy Family)

Darlene did get a letter from Green Acres, saying the funeral home has tried to track down a similar urn. The urn isn't made any more. So the funeral home offered to replace both her mother and father’s urn with a different matching set.

"Our contacts at the glass blowing companies will create something similar to what the original selections were, but will be entirely unique to your family that no one else will be able to select," the funeral home said in a letter to the family.

That’s not good enough for Darlene, though, who said her mother picked those urns for a reason.

“My mother will never have her resting spot,” said Darlene. “That to me – there are no words to describe that.”

The funeral home declined to comment, telling CBC they had to protect the privacy of their clients.