Why I Created Eternal Life Memorials

The Cole Family PhotoI am a mother, a pet lover, a business owner, and a widow.  I lost my husband when I was 37 and it has had a profound effect on me and my family, and how I approach life.  My husband and I were living a wonderful life together and were truly happy and content.  In 2009 life as we knew it changed when Ron received a diagnosis of Stage 4 kidney cancer – terminal cancer.  He was given about 6 months to live.  Ron was not going to just sit back and let the cancer rule his life.  His full time job became learning about his illness and the possible treatments.

After his diagnosis there was no one who lived a fuller life than Ron. He spent time with family and friends, volunteered in the community, and made the most of every day.  Two years after his diagnosis, he was still battling the cancer and the cancer was holding steady with very little progression; that is when we found out I was pregnant.  Emerson Cole was born in January 2012 and is our little miracle.  Ron was a stay-at-home dad and loved every minute of it.  Ron and Emerson would regularly go to Disneyland or the Discovery Science Center together.  Even when Ron was undergoing treatment, fatigued, sick, and in pain, he never complained; in fact he was happy to be alive.  He would be the one who insisted on going out with friends and family on the weekends instead of just staying at home.  Ron was an amazing man.

Ron passed away on Thanksgiving in 2013 due to complications with the metastasis in his lungs.  I am still at the point where it is so difficult to think of him without tears of sadness at what my son and I have lost.

As I was planning for the memorial service and attempting to navigate through handling his estate, I knew that I wanted to do something different for Ron’s grave marker.  It needed to represent who Ron was as a father and a husband – but how was I going to convey all of who he was on a little piece of granite? – he was so much more than that.  I started with making sure I included a perfect description of who he was on his headstone, but that was not enough.  I needed a way to extend the headstone past that piece of granite in the ground; that is when I came up with the idea of including a website on his headstone.  The question was how would I do this? The use of a QR code was the perfect solution.  The next issue was where should the QR code be pointed? Facebook? The Obituary? My own website?  It would be permanent and I am not computer savvy, so this gave me much concern.  I opted to point the QR code to the obituary with a guest book option we paid the mortuary to provide.

After Ron’s headstone was completed and installed, I started getting flooded with comments regarding how unique this was and what a great way to memorialize someone.  People were asking how I did it and were considering adding something similar to markers of their loved ones.  I would tell people about what I did, but also my concerns.  For example, I have very limited control of how the obituary site looks, who posts, and no ability to upload video.  Also, I cannot move the location of the QR code, so if I ever change my mind regarding content, or the mortuary that handles Ron’s obituary changes owners, stops doing business, etc., I am left with a QR code that is useless.

That is when the idea for Eternal Life Memorials was created.  Wouldn’t it be nice to give people a QR code to use on the headstones, plaques, and memorials of their loved ones with the control to move the QR code to point to different URLs – maybe Facebook or a memorial fundraising site for a while and then move it to their obituary?  Or even better, to create your own site for the person who passed?  We are making all these options available with Eternal Life Memorials because just like Ron, no one can be defined on a static piece of stone..

– Taline Cole, June 2014


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