Erica’s Angel Bronze Statue
Montrose Cemetery. Chicago, IL
Erica’s Angel bronze memorial portrait statue has become a favorite to many. There is so much hope and reassurance in the child’s smile, gentle hand of the Angel and a fine detail of the girl’s dress. Sculptor Lena Toritch considers this memorial portrait statue on of the finest and most complex examples of her custom sculpture work. The life-size bronze had to be installed on a narrow cemetery plot. The statue composition was designed to balance the weight of a 6′ tall bronze angel while maintaining a weightless, celestial feel of the sculpted figure. This private commission bronze portrait statue became a hallmark of healing for grieving parents.
The bronze statue of Erica’s Angel helped her parents heal after her tragic death from cancer. This life size bronze memorial stands at Erica’s grave site in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. Erica’s parents wanted her portrayed with a guardian angel who takes her lovingly to heaven. She glances back smiling and reassuring those left behind that all is well. Seeing the remarkable likeness for the first time, brought her parents to tears. But they say the monument has given them an image of her that that has helped them heal and brought a sense of comfort and hope. Since it located in a cemetery at the site of her grave, it has given them a special place to visit and remember. It is a place to touch her cheek or leave a bracelet on her wrist. It is decorated, flowered and loved.
“I thought of the idea of transition. The angel is ascending but Erica is still here to make sure that her parents believe that everything is going to be fine. This statue represents an eternal bond that is never broken.”
— Lena Toritch
It is always a heart touching process to create the image of a deceased child. But Lena Toritch feels it is one way she can help people heal from the tremendous loss of child. Toritch uses photographs and videos to recreate a remarkable likeness. But she goes beyond the facial structure to reveal the child’s inner spirit and personality. Lena managed to capture the special way Erica had of smiling and crinkling her eyes. If you can, look closely at the delicate way Erica’s hand is placed gently in the hand of the angel. The angel is not taking her but kindly guiding her to another world. The monument has become a focal point in the cemetery and is visited and admired by many who find its message comforting. But whether it’s a cemetery or back yard or mantle statue, a portrait of a child is a powerful to remember and honor the memory of someone who is gone but never forgotten.