My home office — Oregon
I'm working from home, as I do most days. My office is calm and quiet. My Bulldog Olive is snoring on her pillow in the corner. Everything is in order, yet it's days like this when my mind tends to wander to the photos on the walls—photos of you, of us. Most of them are from our road trips; there is one of us in Mexico—adventures, as you called them.
And, I suppose that's exactly what they were. After all, going anywhere is an adventure when you don't have an itinerary. You never had a plan for anything, and honestly, that's part of what made spending time with you so much fun. You were the epitome of spontaneity, always on the go, which was why we joked that you were my little gypsy mama. You were always dressed monochromatically head to toe, wearing red, pink, or yellow, and mismatched your expensive jewelry with your old Reebok tennis shoes.
Now, that's something that's ingrained in me—your love of jewelry and gemstones. I remember the game we played, starting when I was around eight or nine years old, when we'd go to estate sales, and you'd pick out several pieces and say, "Tell me which ones are the real stones and which ones are fake."
No one loved jewelry like you, which is how I knew that creating an Eterneva Diamond from your ashes was the perfect way to honor your memory and keep you close.
The last few years were the most difficult for us; we lost you twice. First, Alzheimers took your memory. Then it came for the rest. But even when you started to drift, your vibrant personality would shine through, so I still have some good memories even in the darker times. One of my favorites was when I called to check up on you, and you said, after we'd spoken for a bit: "Well, it's really nice to talk to you, but I gotta go. Cary's waiting for me." I knew, then, that you were watching one of your old black-and-white movies. You really thought Cary Grant was in your living room, waiting for you to get off the phone. And…I loved that.
When you passed away, my brothers and I each agreed to keep some of your ashes. Dan and Steve wanted to scatter some of them at Old Orchard Beach and some in the town square in Healdsburg so you can be in your two favorite places coast to coast, which was poignant and made sense for them, but as for me, I couldn't give you up. Not all of you, anyway.
So, I debated on what to do with you. For a moment, I considered turning you into an ornament to honor your love of Christmas. But, then, I'd really only get to hold you once a year. And there were other ashes to jewelry options, but nothing spoke to me. Nothing, that is, until I discovered Eterneva on TikTok. I loved watching the stories and learning how they turn someone's ashes into a Diamond. I could see how much it meant to people, how much it could mean for me to create something beautiful after the devastating loss of not only my mother but my best friend.
A Diamond meant I didn't have to give you up. A Diamond meant I could take you everywhere with me. It was a marriage of your lifelong love of gemstones and adventure, and therefore, the perfect memorial for you.
Deciding to honor you with an Eterneva Diamond was the easy part. The hard part came when I had to open your urn. It took me several months to be able to do it. I invited my girlfriends over, and we made a ceremony of it, sharing stories about you and laughing. It helped to mend my broken heart ever so slightly.
And that was just the beginning. I began this process because I wanted to honor you, my beloved mother, but I had no idea what an emotional and healing gift it would be for myself. From start to finish, the Diamond Journey was an amazing experience. I got to see video updates of your purified carbon and your rough stone before it was cut and polished into its final brilliant, round form.
Your stone is colorless and timeless. I love how, when the light strikes its facets, it becomes a prism, sparkling with all the colors. I had it set into a ring, which I wear every day. And oh, the memories it evokes. Sometimes, I laugh just thinking about the conversations we've had or might have had if you were still here today.
Remembering our marathon phone conversations and the stories you'd tell about your latest day trip with Steve or time visiting Dan on the East Coast. I laugh thinking of the things you'd say to trip me up because you knew when my attention had drifted and I was no longer listening - well, I'm listening now.
Sometimes, I like to dream of what you're doing on your grand adventure without me, and I know that you must be starring in one of your favorite black-and-white movies alongside Cary Grant and Doris Day, teaching them how to live in your vibrant color.
I don't know what I believe about the afterlife, but I know that you have one now as this beautiful diamond, and whether you stay in our family or someone else finds you a long, long time from now, you will be loved for all of eternity.
I love you, my little gypsy Mama. Always and forever,