A Father-Daughter Bond As Bright As A Diamond
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 memorial diamonds. These real stories are here to help heal, connect one another, spark joy, inspire gratitude, and move us forward together.
We had the opportunity to talk to the daughter of Dale Kennedy, Amanda Thompson, who worked with our team at Eterneva to turn their remarkable father’s ashes into multiple blue, unforgettable memorial diamonds.
“Seeing the diamond making process first-hand was almost like a dream come true… seeing it in person and hearing all of the science behind it was amazing.” - Amanda Thompson
Nowadays, Amanda keeps her father close to every day by wearing his memorial diamonds. She also had extra diamonds grown so that she can give her daughters their own diamonds from their grandfather’s ashes once they get older. She’ll use the diamonds as a way for her family to remember and talk about their grandfather’s remarkable life and lessons learned.
The Remarkable Legacy of Dale Kennedy
Dale was quick-witted, funny, bright, very sarcastic, and loved being with his kids.
As someone who was pretty private in his personal life, Dale was the opposite with his daughter and son, who he was very outgoing with and always wanted to be around. Together, they would go to the Baltimore Zoo and the Science Center, often stopping for Coke Slurpees in the summer. He loved Coke Slurpees.
He hated having pictures taken of him and would often joke to his daughter, Amanda, that she was taking a piece of his soul every time she took a photo of him. However, during a trip of a lifetime to Alaska, Amanda was able to snag a ton of photos of him just being and looking at things. These photos are now an amazing keepsake to remember such a meaningful time.
Dale liked being active and hated to sit still. As a kid, Amanda remembers him always taking her and her brother to play tennis or basketball. He would also take the kids to Kiawah Island in South Carolina where they’d spend the week fishing and riding tandem bikes. He loved riding shotgun on the bikes, completely blocking Amanda’s view.
His quick wit is something Amanda misses most. He could turn anything into something humorous and turn the mundane, like grocery shopping, into something fun.
“He would always make fun. I miss that.” - Amanda Thompson
The Little Things
The biggest thing that comes to mind when Amanda thinks about the little details of her dad is when she was a kid, before caller ID was available, when she would yell “It’s for me” when her dad was calling. Her family always questioned how she knew it was him, but she would have a feeling and could tell.
Every time before the two would hang up the phone with each other, Amanda would say “One. Two. Three.” and they’d both say “I love you. Bye.” and hang up. It started when Amanda was a child and didn’t want to hang up first and he came up with it as a way to make sure she was comfortable hanging up at the same time.
She also really appreciates the lessons her father instilled on her growing up and continues to practice them with her kids today.
Life Lessons Learned from Dad
Turn a Negative into a Positive
Amanda remembers her dad’s biggest saying “It is what it is.”
At first she used to hate this saying. After a college breakup, Dale responded with this saying when she was devastated. At the time, Amanda didn’t find this helpful, but now she recognizes the importance of the saying and finds herself saying it when tough situations arise.
“He was wise to just be like, OK. This happened and I can’t change it. It is what it is. I just need to figure out how to deal with it. My dad was very willing to accept that not every situation is going to turn out the way you want it to and he would always try to pull that little sliver of positive and turn it into something funny. I think that that helps because I tend to look at the negative things, but I try to remember that every situation is either going to lead me to something positive or has something small and whatever I can take away from that, whether it be a lesson or a friendship or anything just to focus on that positive and try not to focus on the negative. It's very powerful.” - Amanda Thompson
Live Life to the Fullest
Amanda watched her father deal with ALS, something that has no real treatment or cure. He tried and did anything possible to get better. He did everything humanly possible to stay around.
The strong connection Amanda shared with her father makes her more aware of how she’s living and ignites the desire to be around for her children.
Once he passed, Amanda realized she needed to do the same thing for her kids. She wanted her daughters to have their mom as long as possible, so she began doing a lot of work, losing weight, and trying to do more so that one day when she’s gone, her kids can look back and say “Mom did everything she could to stay here with us.”
“I think he would say to live every day for yourself and for your loved ones. Make sure that you are telling the people you love that you love them.” - Amanda Thompson
Celebrating Dale’s Life As A Forever Diamond
When Amanda was in nursing school, she remembered how ashes have a lot of carbon and that it was possible that one day we could turn those ashes into lab grown diamonds.
After her dad passed, she wondered if it was something that could be done yet and googled the process. Eterneva popped up and she had a gut feeling that this is what she was supposed to do with her father’s ashes.
“This is how I was going to be able to carry a piece of my dad with me every day. And you know, everyone says they’re always with you. But for me, I like the physical reminder when I look down at my hand and he’s there with my engagement ring and my wedding ring. I know he’s with me, and it was something I needed for my life.” - Amanda Thompson
Amanda now wears her dad’s blue memorial diamond ring every day. Blue was her dad’s favorite color and also her daughters’ birthstone colors. And so she brought together three of her favorite people, and it means so much when it comes to her dad and her children.
Her daughters know that her bright and sparkly diamond is made from their grandfather and they ask questions about him. They also have a blanket that Amanda’s coworkers made for her with pictures throughout her and Dale’s life that sits on the rocking chair.
Amanda uses both the diamond and the blanket as an opportunity to share stories of when she was a kid with her dad within her family’s daily life. She wants them to know about their grandfather and that he loved them immensely since they never had the chance to meet him.
She’s gotten every reaction she can think of from friends, coworkers and the rest of the family. Some people are very confused as to how it’s possible to turn ashes into a diamond, which she uses as a learning experience to share more about the process.
“I briefly explain it. Some people are just so amazed by it. I’ve had a lot of people talk about how either they want that done to them when they’re gone, or that they could see turning a pet or a family member into a diamond, and that they didn’t even realize it was possible.” - Amanda Thompson
Amanda’s ring allows her to talk about her dad on a regular basis because people always ask about her middle ring. She gets to talk about her fun-loving and amazing father who would have done anything for her and her brother.
A Path Forward
While her father, Dale, is not the first person she’s lost in her life, his loss had the biggest impact. She remembers asking a friend who had lost a mother in high school about the grief.
“Does this go away?” Her friend’s answer regarding grief really stuck and Amanda continues to pass it along. “No, it doesn’t, but you get better at dealing with it.”
Amanda still feels the pain today as raw as it was the day they lost him. But she’s learning how to grow from the grief.
“The grief doesn’t get bigger, but you do around it. And I think that’s super important because a lot of people think that time heals. It really does. You’re still reminded daily of that loss, but you can turn it into something positive. A positive memory or, you know, just the thought of them in general. And I think that’s how our loved ones live on through that.” - Amanda Thompson
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 comment here for a chance to be featured on our account!