I am a nerd. In high school I hung out with kids who were off the charts smart and outside the mainstream. I can obsess about anything that interests me or takes center stage in my life. For the last five years that has been death, thanks to the untimely death of my husband. His death has been the single most challenging event of my lifetime. Both personally and professionally I am reminded daily about the impact death can have on the living. His death does not define me, but it certainly colors the way I see things. Everyone in my life is probably getting tired of me talking about it but I feel like I must for the sake of my fellow grievers.
I have held four occasions for my husband, the first in Newport where we shared our life, the second in Idaho where he grew up, a dinner for 55 people on his first deathiversary and his burial on the five-year anniversary. My son remarked “How many funerals do I have to go to for this guy?” He made me think. I am not done honoring my husband and I may never be, although I may stop including others to make more personal.
I work for a funeral home and we are constantly seeking special ways to memorialize people. I find myself wanting to memorialize my husband in ALL the ways, although I am running out of cremated remains to use. What follows is one of the ways I plan to remember him.
This way is a journey and a keepsake. In my digging around I found a company called, Eterneva. I believe they are a pioneer on the cutting edge of memorialization. They have developed a way to transform the cremated remains or hair of someone special into a diamond.
My poor son lost his father when he was sixteen, which meant his papa was unable to be there for his graduation. For graduation, I literally wanted to bring his father’s urn to the auditorium so he could be there with us as our son walked across the stage. My son, a classic 18-year-old, was mortified at my idea. It seemed reasonable to me. I did sneak his father’s urn to his graduation party and managed not to get in trouble. A ring would be more discrete.
For those with an eye towards statistics a recent study at Baylor University discovered that memorial diamonds specifically provide a unique sense of comfort for grieving loved ones
• Provide mobility, as they are small and portable.
• Keep your loved one with you in the present – and not only in the past.
• Help those grieving focus on the life and bright memories of their loved one.
How will my diamond be grown? The science-backed process of turning cremated remains (or hair) into an unbreakable, bright, and hopeful diamond take 7-10 months. During that time, I will be updated at each step, through a webpage dedicated to my sweet Ricky, as well as notifications through email and text. There is a real-time journal about each stage of the process to ensure my involvement. Webpages may be set to private or public at the discretion of each family.
I am pleased to report my husband’s remains arrived at the lab in Texas last week. I received an email and with a video of his cremated remains being transferred into a numbered crucible. I was able to: see the bag I mailed to them in their hands, hear the lab tech speak directly to me in a kind soothing voice about the process, and witness what happens when I am not there. The feeling was indescribable. I trusted them with the remains of the love of my life and they did not take the responsibility lightly. The staff at Eterneva seem to care about who he was. He has a few more stops before he heads to Germany to be made into a precious blue diamond.
To date I have found the process moving and fulfilling in a way I did not think possible. I am a bit of a skeptic; I find myself wanting to skip through some of the parts I see as marketing or salesy. Now that I am in the experience, I am a believer and look forward to the rest of this journey. Next time I see him he will be the pure carbon version of himself. He was a scientist so I am sure he would have loved it too.
Did I mention I am not even a ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’ kind of person? My first wedding ring was bought at a kiosk at the mall for under ten bucks.
I love the idea that he will be with me wherever I go. He can be at my son’s wedding (assuming there is one) without it feeling morose or morbid.
It seems this experience has had a positive impact on other Eterneva customers as well. Denise Gray, who had a blue diamond made for her son Austin, remarks she “[can] see Austin’s eyes” in his diamond and feel him; “it’s better.” The diamond “helps people to say [her] son’s name” and keep him present. Her colleague and friend shares that after finding Eterneva, Denise finally “had found ways that Austin could live on in her life.” She shares her journey and why Austin is remarkable here.
Diamonds are a literal reflective surface, and they will reflect the beauty of your loved one and the relationship you shared. Each diamond can be inscribed with either their name or any desired text up to 15 characters long. These can be seen under a jeweler’s microscope once it is complete, ensuring your diamond is uniquely your loved one.
Diamonds have historically represented everlasting love and connection. A big part of why I (and the rest of the Memorial Funeral Home team) do this work is to help families find the solutions that brings them peace, hope and a way forward. If you would like to learn more, our partners at Eterneva are available to hear what makes your loved one remarkable or feel free to ask me about my own experience. I will pop by a bit later with an update on my diamond!