Building a Better Future for Dying, Grieving and Remembering: We’re Commissioning Groundbreaking New Research on Grief

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The Psychology
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Building a Better Future for Dying, Grieving and Remembering: We’re Commissioning Groundbreaking New Research on Grief

Groundbreaking New Research on Grief for a Better Future for Dying, Grieving and Remembering
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Words by:

Tracey Wallace

Illustration by:

Words by:

Tracey Wallace

Illustrator:

Contents

Since our co-founders set out to pave a path of transparency and experience in the memorialization industry, we’ve made every effort to ensure that our product and process meets and exceeds a certain scientific standard.

  • We partnered with a world renowned analytical chemistry lab, B&B Labs, to add an additional step to our process, that of total carbon analysis, in the case someone wants even further levels of transparency.
  • We’ve joined the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) to provide guidance and oversight on chain of custody and cremation memorialization options.
  • We’ve begun our application and the process toward earning our B Corp certification, ensuring transparency around process, internal policies, diversity, sustainability and so much more.
  • We are working with business leaders in Austin, Texas to lead the charge on addressing what once was The United States’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. For us, this means ensuring sustainability at every step of the way as we grow our memorial diamond production facility and allow customers to visit, watch every step of the process, and so much more.

Today’s Announcement, However, Isn’t About the Science Side of Memorial Diamonds.

We are so excited to announce that we are officially commissioning university-backed research on Eterneva's journey, involving grief theory, customer surveys, data collation and interpretation to add academic rigor to our grief wellness program.

Baylor University's Dr. Candi Cann will be leading the research, and working toward two qualitative papers covering:

  1. An examination of how material objects and rituals may help in the grieving process and serve as a form of continuing bond.
  2. A study of Eterneva’s customer base through surveys and interviews to analyze how the diamond creation journey might aide customers through grieving and serve as a legacy project.

Dr. Cann's current research focuses on death and dying, and the impact of remembering (and forgetting) in shaping how lives are recalled, remembered and celebrated. She has examined this theme through martyrdom in her early scholarship.

Dr. Cann's first book, Virtual Afterlives: Grieving the Dead in the Twenty-first Century with the University Press of Kentucky (2014), centered on grief and memorialization in the contemporary world. She has also written various chapters and articles on digital death and grief. Her second book Dying to Eat: Cross Cultural Perspectives on Food, Death and the Afterlife (also with University Press of Kentucky, 2017) is an edited collection on the intersection of food in death and grief. Her third book, The Routledge Handbook of Death and Afterlife(Routledge, 2018), is an edited collection containing thirty chapters examining death and afterlife from around the world.

Dr. Cann's current projects are researching diversity in death, and the intersection of death and technology around the world.

These credentials make her one of the foremost researchers on death, dying and remembrance in the United States –– and we are so incredibly excited to be working with her, feel honored to have found her, and feel lucky that she calls Waco, a city only about 100 miles from our own home base in Austin, Texas.

Moving Grief Research and Education Forward in the United States

We have known since the early days of Eterneva that there was something just plain different about our customers. They were deeply grieving, of course. But they were not embodying what is so often assumed of grief in the United States.

  • They weren’t isolating themselves.
  • They weren’t not talking about the loved one they lost.
  • They weren’t allowing how their loved one died to color all the other memories they have.

Instead, they were doing things differently.

  • They were starting legacy projects and raising money to help fight diseases, give back to people who have the same interests as their loved one, or working to change laws to protect others from a similar fate.
  • They were talking about their loved one –– often, and almost always with a smile on their face. They retold stories. They encouraged others to do the same.
  • They were building communities and coalitions of people all bound by a love for someone who helped shape and define them, but who is physically no longer here.

And those customers all kept telling us one really big, important thing:

You helped me. You helped me take ownership of my grief and put it into action. This journey changed my relationship to grief, to my loss, to everyone still here and around me.

These stories are what we use to spread our message.

We create videos that show our customers as the superheroes and role models they are for all us when such a time comes knocking on our door. After all, 100% of us will experience grief in our lifetimes.

These stories became our muse.

These stories became our muse to innovate on the diamond journey. We kept hearing how meaningful this process was for people, so we kept asking, "How can we up the ante on the whole experience to make it truly magical?”

But these stories are only anecdotes.

As a result, we don’t use these stories as proof points. After all, we don’t expect anybody’s grief journey to be the same as another other. In fact, we expect the exact opposite.

Instead, we are commissioning university-based research to add academic rigor and process to a new understanding of the grief experience.

Transforming Stages of Grief into Grief Wellness and New Remembrance Traditions

The last such renowned research on grief in the United States was published in 1969 by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying. You probably know it well: The Stages of Grief.

Unfortunately, the stages of grief have been overused, and often out of context. We do not grieve in stages. Grief itself is cyclical –– and anyone who has been through it knows the waxing and waning of the experience deep in their bones.

It is time to change the cultural conversations around death, grief, and remembrance in the United States.

It is time to remove the stigma of such experiences that lead to isolation and cause mental health issues.

It is time for us all to take a stand, to embrace the vulnerability that comes from holding this necessary space, having this necessary conversation and honoring this necessary aspect of life.

Remember Remarkably.

-The Eterneva Team

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