What Is a Guided Grief Journey and How Are Diamonds Involved?
29 August, 2020
At some point in each of our lives, we will experience grief. It’s one of our truly universal shared experiences as humans, yet the loss of a loved one is often incredibly isolating. Western cultures especially have constructed conflicting attitudes around grief that push us to feel deeply—then get over it with relative haste.
That’s why when I recently heard about the idea of a “guided grief journey,” I found it intriguing. Because like all essential transitions in life, grief is a journey. It is not merely an event or a waypoint tied to a death. It is a whole trip. It may begin gradually, with the knowledge of a serious diagnosis or upon realizing that a parent is aging, for example. Or it can be sudden, as when a death occurs without warning.
The circumstances of the death must surely affect how we grieve, but the road we will travel varies greatly from person to person. Are there really only five stages of grief or is it different for everyone? Could we benefit from a guided experience during this journey?
Well, it can be many things. It can be weekly meetings with a support group led by a counselor or clergy person. It can be a targeted art therapy class designed to help you identify feelings and express them. It can be an online course or a yoga training or another activity created to honor feelings and offer techniques and ideas around navigating what comes next after a loss. But the real question is: can it be true that anchoring ourselves in such a guided experience may really aid us as we deal with a loss? Could it really help us heal?
Eterneva, a bespoke memorial diamond jewelry company that transforms cremated ashes (and even hair) into heirloom quality diamonds, says yes. And they’ve recently commissioned researchers at Baylor University to create a study to prove the hypothesis upon which their business was built. Results of the research are due early in 2021.
What intrigued me about Eterneva is that since their inception, they’ve focused on that journey, and on the fact that over the nine months or so it takes to grow a diamond in a lab from cremated remains (!), the company’s leaders have seen the positive effects on their clients first-hand. Founders Adelle Archer and Garret Ozar have developed this particular grief journey to include milestones along the way—personalizing a welcome for each person they are honoring so that their team and the family will connect around the individual and the grieving person who is commissioning the diamond.
Growing a Memorial Diamond
Eterneva has leveraged the lab-based technology to create heirloom quality keepsake pieces, and they’ve developed a personalized process that embraces both grief and joy, a journey that culminates in the “homecoming” of a diamond that is so much more than a glittering accessory—it’s a tangible, visual manifestation of a loved one. And not only is it an artifact we can use to keep a loved one close to us—its sparkle can spark joy in us as we remember them.
Since we at Farewelling believe in celebrating a beautiful life, beautifully, I was instantly attracted not just to the jewels themselves, but to the fact that the company aims to find that glimmer of light inside the darkness of grief, and to hold it up in celebration. It’s a fresh attitude that I believe our society should and will come to embrace more and more, whatever the science says.