The Eterneva team is committed to sharing real stories that help celebrate the remarkable lives of loved ones who have passed and have started their new journey as a memorial diamond. These real stories are here to help connect one another, spark joy, inspire gratitude, and move us forward together.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Sydney Collier, the daughter of Carmen, who worked with our team at Eterneva to turn their remarkable mother’s ashes into a diamond as blue as the ocean.
Sydney will wear her mother’s memorial diamond in a ring on her finger, so that she can take her everywhere she goes, including clinicals while she studies to be a nurse.
The Remarkable Legacy of Carmen
Carmen was vibrant and bold with a contagious laugh. She was very social, loved being around people, and almost always ran into someone she knew.
Just being in a room with her made everything better. She was smart and humble about it. She had a lot of wisdom to give and anybody who asked her questions walked away from the situation feeling seen and encouraged.
With a tough upbringing, she rose from the ashes and became a wonderful mother to three daughters. As a mother she instilled strength, courage and resilience for her daughters.
Carmen loved gardening and being in nature. She was a beach bum who loved seeing the world and appreciating the little things in life like the sound of the ocean, finding sea shells or creating life by planting something, nurturing it, and watching it grow.
The Little Things
Sydney and her mom had a very open relationship and were very close. And while there were many loving memories Sydney shared with her remarkable mother, the little things she looks back on fondly.
“The most pictures I have of my mom are just me and my sisters and her doing, you know, little things around the house. There are fun pictures of her and I raking leaves as a kid, playing in the backyard with my lab when I was a kid, or going to the beach and taking pictures at our favorite beach. Honestly, it was just kind of us documenting our everyday lives and us just enjoying ourselves in our own company.”
One of Sydney’s favorite memories with her mom, that she now has dreams about, is driving over to her mom’s house to sit in the garden, let the dogs play, or sit on the couch inside with no phones or distractions to just talk. Sydney remembers laying her head on her mom’s lap, closing her eyes as they talked about life. Her mother stroked her hair and Sydney felt like a kid again.
Carmen loved to sing even though her voice was far from perfect. Sydney remembers her mom belting Rock Your Body by Justin Timberlake along with other countless songs. “It was so fun to listen to her sing ‘cause she belted out the words like she was Adele… to hear her sing and dance in the car and just be silly with me.”
“Knowing that she's not suffering anymore is pretty much the only thing that brings me comfort. She's free and she's here and she's at the beach and all these different places. She's much more free than she was. When she was suffering. But I look at life a lot differently now. I appreciate the little things.”
Celebrating Carmen As A Forever Diamond
After looking around for commemoration options right after Carmen passed, Sydney just didn't feel like any of the options were enough to capture her mother’s vibrance. Sydney decided to turn her mother’s ashes into a diamond and honor her that way.
When Sydney told her sisters, they were super excited. They plan to FaceTime and to share what she looks like in her new form as a vibrant diamond. Sydney’s dad was in full support of it and even gifted this to Sydney because he knew how much Carmen meant to her and how hard it was to be without her.
“When I found Eterneva, it was just perfect and I knew that turning her into a blue diamond would be perfect because it reminds me of the ocean and all the times we spent walking on the beach and picking up seashells and just being beach bums together. I spread the remainder of her ashes at the beach. Now every time I see videos of the beach or even just look down at her ring when it comes home, I kind of get to remember all those good times just by looking at her.”
Sydney decided to have her diamond placed into a ring so that she could look at it while she’s working with her hands. She thought that she’d rather look at it in the ring, and can also turn it into a necklace if she needs to be free of jewelry on her hands for nursing school.
“It'll be a really special homecoming when she gets to come home to Colorado.”
A Path Forward
Having a vibrant mother as wise as Carmen has left an impact on Sydney and countless others. While losing a mother is the biggest challenge Sydney has faced in her life, she navigates her grief with the resilience her mother instilled in her from a young age to continue to put one foot in front of the other, appreciating the little things along the way.
Sydney remembers the words her mother shared with her after her grandmother passed.
“Several years back, after her mom died of cancer, she finished the letter by saying I want you to have a really full life and I want you to get everything that you want. I want you to be happy. And then at a certain point, I just tried to remember that. There is a lot to still be thankful for. Everybody had their relationship. That I did. And so I just hold on to that and I try to be thankful for that and be happy and allow myself to find that joy again.”
When we asked Sydney if there was anything that her mother would want others to know about life, her answers beautifully captured Carmen’s wisdom.
“Simba, remember who you are.”
The heart-wrenching quote from the Lion King was one that Carmen knew well and referenced whenever someone was discouraged, worried or stressed. And it is now a guiding light for Sydney as she embarks on this new journey with her remarkable mother in her new vibrant form as a blue diamond.
Sydney continues to make her mom proud by sharing her mother’s extraordinary wisdom.
“Anybody who's lost somebody would want those who haven't to appreciate the people that are still in their life... call them, set aside time for them, and make them feel loved and special 'cause you're not always going to have that time. You don't get that time back once it's gone. Love one another and be selfless and don’t be cold. Don't let the world make you cold, you know. Be kind to one another and love one another.”
What are your little things?
We're on a mission to change a culture around death, grief, and remembrance at Eterneva. We believe the little things shared with a loved one are some of the most important and impactful treasures in life. We want to help you find solace on your grieving journey by embracing the little things you shared with your loved one that left a lasting impression.
And for those who aren’t on a grieving journey, this is for you too! Who are the most precious people in your life and what are their little things? Through loss we learn about life. So how can you learn from Hope and Dustin’s remarkable love to practice presence and gratitude the next time your loved one slurps their coffee or has their silly quirk?
Join us by sharing “that one time they...” or “I remember how they would…” about your loved ones. We can't wait to hear just how special your loved one is to you and the little things that have made a big impact on your life. We want to share your favorite “little things” about your loved ones, so please share on Instagram with the hashtag #TLTeterneva for a chance to be featured on our account!