Have you ever caught yourself in the thick of grief wondering when it will stop and what it all means? Well, then, you’re in good company. 

Here at Eterneva, we help people grow their loved ones ashes into a one-of-a-kind diamond that can be held forever and sparkle every day. And we’re lucky enough to witness our caring customers find brightness and make meaning from the loss of their remarkable loved ones.

Now today, I’m writing to share what grief can teach us when we take the time and space to observe, feel and ask questions about the meaning of it all.

The grief that starts before they leave us

A year ago I had just begun volunteering at a local farm. One day a week, I’d leave the house and go to the farm to carry on with my little role in providing food for our community. Meanwhile, at home, my sweet Chewy girl was in her final months, gradually declining up through her peaceful at-home passing.

Often crying on the way to the farm, I hid behind my sunglasses as I pulled weeds and wondered how I’d manage without Chewy by my side. 

I’d think about the life and death that surrounds us both in the garden and at home… and just how temporary everything in this life is.

I brought home cut flowers after the sweaty mornings in the dirt and Chewy would welcome me home with her wagging tail. She’d sniff all of the flowers and then cuddle up on her bed and stare outside at the squirrels as I‘d get settled and begin writing.

As the weeks went on, Chewy’s condition worsened and I knew that for an 18 year old cat, this was not likely something she’d bounce back from. I tried to prepare myself for the inevitable.

I cried most days when I was with Chewy leading up to her peaceful passing, and I did everything I could to appreciate the little things, like hand feeding her her favorite gravy, holding her or taking her out in the garden to sniff around.

Yet still, nothing would stop me from believing that she’d live forever.

If there’s anything I learned from all of the tears, heartache, sweat and reflection, it’s that feeling all of my grief is what allowed me to move forward with Chewy and the special bond we shared. This bond will live forever.

Dani & Chewy

By taking the time to listen to my grief (including the brutal anticipatory grief leading up to Chewy’s passing), I was led to finding meaning throughout it all. 

The local farm that I found quickly became a safe space where I could grieve, be with friends that feel like family, and find connection with nature. 

My grief forced me to pave a new path forward. But it wasn’t easy.

Throughout the last year intertwined with grief, I’ve felt uncomfortable feelings and grief from other family deaths that I’d been suppressing since childhood. I canceled events and I spent extra self-care time to help me get one foot in front of the other until I was out of the house and back into the world.

None of it was easy, but feeling all of my rough edges and searching for meaning from Chewy’s loss has led to a greater sense of peace and understanding with it all. 

While the grief still remains, coming and going with a mind of its own, I’ve grown around it.

Some days, when I least expect it, another wave of grief will come crashing down and remind me that even something that I should be proud of, my own growth, can be the source of pain. 

How can I be proud of the woman I am today when Chewy’s not here to celebrate it with me? Sometimes recognizing how far I’ve come since she left makes me feel further away from her and that has brought up unexpected waves of grief. 

Just as Angie from Adventures of Amelie and Bros describes it…

“Grief comes in waves. Some waves knock me off my feet and crash over the top of me. Some come out of nowhere and take me by surprise. Some waves make me feel like I’m drowning. Sometimes I catch a wave of grief and I just want to jump off of it.

Yet still, some waves are soothing; remembering her soulful eyes, the way she looked at me and the way she made me feel. My heart can’t help but smile at the thought of her.”


When I really think about what this pain is trying to teach me, I recognize that each passing feeling and emotion is an honor. The grief I hold is an honor because it’s a reminder of the love Chewy and I shared.

"The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief - But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love."

Hillary Stanton Zunin

Their love doesn’t go away when they die. It becomes part of us. Their loving memories reside in our hearts and we make more memories with them in mind to honor their remarkable life and the love shared.

Why grief? What can it teach us?

The stages of grief can vary from person to person and often include denial, anger, and sadness that can eventually lead to acceptance and finding meaning. However, it can be a rocky road getting there.

When we slow down to think about what each of these messy stages of grief can teach us and ask hard questions about the deep love we had for our remarkable loved one, we may notice that these unpredictable waves of grief are meant to keep us connected to our loved one.

Experiencing and feeling all of the emotions that accompany grief can be physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting and sometimes easier to avoid. However, it’s also what we need to do to move forward with their love.

Moving through the pain of grief takes time, patience and kindness with ourselves and those around us. And sometimes it’s better to sit in stillness alone to truly connect to our loved one and their presence that still remains.

Feeling my grief taught me how to honor my girl

As I said before, I know Chewy will live forever. Her love and sassiness will live inside of me and countless others who she touched with her big heart and fluffy tail.

Since Chewy passed, I’ve done my best to create a new normal using coping tools that I’ve learned throughout my years with grief (dating back to childhood) and even some new ones that I’ve learned from lovely Eterneva customers who are growing their loved ones into diamonds

Even though each journey through loss is unique, it’s truly amazing what we can learn from one another in this universal experience of grief when we listen to one another.

While I still miss Chewy every day, and still see her in my dreams often, I’ve learned that grief and loss have so much to teach us, if we’re ready to be the student and learn how to move forward with their love.

So if you’re going through grief, know that you’re not alone in feeling it all. Join me as I reflect on the lessons grief has taught us here at Eterneva. 

I hope these lessons can inspire you to find meaning and move forward with your loved one in a unique and special way. Or at least help you feel less alone in your grief. And if there’s something we missed that you’ve learned from your grief, we’d love to hear it!

1. Loss is inevitable

As a part-time farmer, I witness new life and growth as well as disease, pests, and ultimately death of plants and animals on a regular basis. When tending a garden, there is one thing guaranteed... whatever lives, eventually dies.

As Sue Stuart-Smith writes in her book The Well-Gardened Mind: The Restorative Power of Nature… 

“In tending a plot and nurturing and caring for plants, we are constantly faced with disappearance and return. The natural cycles of growth and decay can help us understand and accept that mourning is part of the cycle of life and that when we can’t mourn, it is as if a perpetual winter takes hold of us.”


While it’s incredible to watch a seed turn into a sprout and then grow into a full plant with fruit, we also must harvest and clear dead plants to make room for new life. We remove what we deem “weeds” from the garden to protect our new life and nurture new seeds until they’re full grown plants, ready to be eaten.

Being so close to this cyclical process in nature of life and death helped me see that while Chewy’s life was so very important to me, she too follows the rules of nature. We all do.

2. We can’t control everything

Staying in the garden for this lesson, let’s consider what it takes to keep a garden growing. We need water to help the plants grow, fertilizer or compost to give them the nutrients they need to thrive, and protection from harsh weather and pests.

And even when we do everything right by nurturing each plant with care, weeding their area to give them the space they need to grow, feeding and watering adequetly, we can still suffer from an unexpected loss that makes us feel totally out of control.

Just like in the garden, when we lose someone, we’re promptly reminded of how little control we have over life around us.

Learning this can be liberating. Instead of the self-blame game, where we think of all of the reasons we failed at keeping them alive or could have done something different, we can recognize that loss is part of life and uncontrollable. What we can control is how we move forward with our loved one in our heart.

3. Patience

We're often left so devastated after loss and then when we think we’re doing better, an unexpected wave of grief comes and knocks us down. In these times, we need patience more than anything to truly sit with our grief, find the right ways to honor our loved one, and move forward with their endless love.

Going through grief is no walk in the park. Physical symptoms can take over where their love once resided and we’re often left navigating heartache, anxiety, and brain fog as we take one breath at a time.

How do we foster more patience during this time of grief? It could be as simple as giving ourselves permission to feel and finding time and space to work through turbulent emotions. Or, it could be choosing an intention that will help us slow down and honor the process of grief and our remarkable loved ones.

"No rule book. No time frame. No judgment. Grief is as individual as a fingerprint. Do what is right for your soul."


4. Slowing down allows us to connect with our loved one

I cried most days leading up to Chewy's death and my body was so exhausted. I knew I needed a breath when she died, and as I stepped outside to take my first deep breath without her, I saw her writing in the sky. “Hi.”

When we slow down and find time to be with our loved one, even after they’re gone, miracles happen.

Our bodies are so susceptible to being in a fight-or-flight stress response when our loved ones pass. Living in this state, we naturally glance over the beauty life still holds because our brain is simply trying to survive.

When we slow down, take deep breaths and extend our exhales, we can engage our parasympathetic nervous system in order to help our bodies rest and digest. As our body and mind relax, our window for beauty and connection expands. 

We can see things we couldn’t see before and little moments become downright divine. Whether it’s noticing that a bird that has come to visit reminds you of your loved one, or seeing a cloud in the sky that seems to be written with their love, slowing down gives us the opportunity to connect with our loved one in an infinite way.

“I can’t physically see him or touch him, but I know he’s still with me, my dad. He left his gift.”

Aaron Jones

5. The body keeps score

Our bodies store emotions and when we feel them, the energy permeates our being and then continues on elsewhere, leaving us with wisdom. However, when grief is not acknowledged and emotions aren’t felt, it’s common for unexpressed emotions to show up down the road as disease and illness.

“The fact is that when you admit that you can’t blame anyone or anything else, you begin to blame yourself. The human mind gives up trying to find an executioner, but still it must blame someone. Anger that is not expressed tends to turn inward and, instead, attacks the very one who feels it. You move from anger and guilt into depression.”

Kate McGahan, Jack McAfghan: Return from Rainbow Bridge: An Afterlife Story of Loss, Love and Renewal

Feeling facilitates healing.

This is why we believe everyone should have the opportunity to turn towards their grief and feel whatever it is they need to feel, even if it means hiding behind sunglasses for a little while.

6. You still have love to give

When a loved one passes, we may feel a giant void where their love used to reside. We’re so used to receiving their love that when it’s not there, it’s painfully obvious.

What about the love that we gave our loved ones? It still exists. 

Grief is here to remind us that our love needs an outlet, and that’s what finding meaning is all about. We channel the love we have for our loved one into something that keeps their memory alive… something that’s unique to our loved one and the love we shared.

7. When there are no words, music will carry you

I won’t lie. There are times that grief is just downright awful and nothing someone does or says will help. At these points in our journey, we can count on the lyrics or rhythm of songs that will help us feel whatever it is we need to feel.

There’s been no better way to express how I’m feeling through my grief journey than listening to the right song at the right time. “Better out than in, I always say.” Here are some playlists our team has put together especially for you to help you through your journey if you find that there are no words.

8. “Normal” is out the window, a new chapter begins

"You don't get over it, you get through it... It doesn't get better, it gets different… Every day, just like me, grief puts on a new face."

Wendy Feireisen

We can’t rewind time to go back to a life before or with them, but we can learn from what they taught us and celebrate their life and legacy every day moving forward.

Slowly, we can find rituals and routines that help us carry on their legacy and honor the impact they had on our lives. And we can use every step forward as a way to celebrate their remarkable life.

After all, your loved one doesn’t have a choice in the matter, but you do. You have the choice to turn towards the pain, feel all of the feelings, find peace in letting go, prioritize your self-care as you navigate this difficult chapter, and ultimately be intentional about honoring their remarkable life through the actions you take moving forward.

9. Finding ways to honor their life helps us move forward with them

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.”

Mitch Albom

By giving ourselves permission to honor their life, we can find peace in letting go of what “normal” once was. This helps us find unique ways to carry on their legacy and continue our relationship with them in our hearts.

They’re gone, but you’re not. Give yourself the permission to carry on their legacy in new ways. Consider asking yourself, “how would they want me to live on without them?”

Chewy loved plants, so finding time to give back to the farm and start my own garden were natural next steps for me to connect with her and continue our relationship. While the memories of Chewy can still make me laugh and cry, I do my best to use them as fuel for my next steps in the soil.

10. Acceptance will come when you’re ready and can’t be rushed

Finding peace with your loved one’s passing isn’t something that happens over night and isn’t something that can be forced. But when you are ready, you will know. One day you may just wake up and know it’s time to take the next step forward in your life.

“The first step in finding meaning is the fifth stage of grief: acceptance. We don’t like loss. We will never be okay with it, but we must accept it, even in its brutality and, in time, acknowledge the reality of it.”

David Kessler, Finding Meaning

If you’re surrounded by people that tell you to “get over it” or “move on”, just know that you don’t have to move forward until you’re ready, and that you may never truly get over your remarkable loved one. That’s 100% okay. 

Remember, your grief is a reflection of the love you have for this loved one, and it’s not always as simple as an outsider is led to believe.

"It's not about getting over it, it's about learning to live with it."

After Chloe

11. Pain and joy can coexist

When it comes to my grief nowadays, I don’t cry because I want Chewy back. Sure, I’d love another day to hold my Chewy girl, but deep down I know she is meant to continue on in a bright new way. 

I now cry because of the beauty she inspired. The abundance that has followed taking steps to honor her, my grandmothers, and baby cousin’s lives.

Throughout all of the tears I’ve noticed that pain and joy can coexist. We’re allowed to miss our loved one and also be happy about something new in life. Just remember, their love is always with you through every up and down.

12. From the ashes, new life and meaning grows

“Gardening is about setting life in motion and seeds, like dead fragments, help us re-create the world anew.”

Sue Stuart-Smith

A succulent that Chewy always cuddled continues to thrive. I accidentally broke it in half shortly after Chewy’s passing. At the time it upset me because I knew I wanted to remember Chewy by the succulent and I thought I had ruined my chances of keeping it alive.

Now, fast forward almost a year later and the succulent has multiplied into two succulents, with each one spiraling towards the sun.

Chewy continues to teach me through this succulent. Not only will I walk away from this experience with a lively succulent for the garden, but I’m also reminded to chase the sun, even when I’m broken into pieces.

I am meant to chase the sun. To have my hands in the soil with my people. To make meals that bring people together to talk about love & the future. Chewy leaves her trace as I forge forward down a new path with her.

“When I’m feeling swallowed up by grief sometimes I picture her growing diamond and am reminded that beauty can come from ashes. I’m a better person because of having Amelie in my life and losing her doesn’t change that. Even though we would never choose death and grief, beauty can still come from it, if we choose to live more intentionally because of it.”

What have you learned from your grief? How will you move forward with your loved one?

Your grief is here to guide you into a new chapter with your remarkable loved one. And as painful as it may be for a while, feeling your grief will allow you to find acceptance and learn how to honor your loved one in a unique and special way.

We know just how disorienting loss is today. And when you layer that with our modern, always-connected-reality, where loved ones are just a touch away, losing that connection with them is unimaginable.

We believe you shouldn’t have to “move on”, instead you should be able to move forward with your loved one. Our mission at Eterneva is to bring brightness and meaning to loss, and we do that by helping customers turn their remarkable loved ones ashes into a one-of-a-kind diamond that will shine brightly forever. 

Remarkable lives deserve to be honored and celebrated. And those still alive deserve to have a bright path forward as they carry on their legacy. It’s what allows us to move forward with grief, finding meaning amongst the loss, and recognizing that legacies can continue to be carried on in remarkable ways.

If you’d like to learn more about how our diamond growing process works, we invite you to learn more and schedule a time to talk to someone on our team. We can’t wait to hear about your remarkable loved one and what you’ve learned through grief. 💙