Memory Vessel

I am often asked what inspired the creation of Memory Vessels, so here is my story.

In 1988 I lost my Father to a long, lingering death to cancer, and two years later my husband of 23 months died unexpectedly of a brain aneurism.

In both cases there were wills, and with Daddy we had a long time to discuss exactly what he wanted at the end of his life – music, flowers, donations, where he wanted his remains scattered – everything.

My husband and I had never had that discussion, so when he died I did not know if he wanted to be buried or cremated or any of the other details. At an already traumatic time, having to make those decisions only increased the trauma.

In my career as a financial advisor I worked with planning tools to address education, retirement and estate planning needs but after my husband’s death I added a section for “End of Life” planning which I referred to as “the final act of kindness” you can leave your family. In this section, clients explicitly detailed their final wishes, relieving the grieving family of those decisions.

Several  years later, a friend’s Father died after living in a nursing home for years following a stroke. It occurred to me that it would have been comforting had he left behind a note that said “Son, my life was made better by having you in it. I can only hope I brought as much joy to your life as you brought to mine. Love, Dad”. I consider this the “final” Final Act of Kindness.

I decided to create a line of cards that would make a final expression of love, joy, gratitude or inspiration to help comfort and heal those of us left behind, to let us know one more time that we were cared enough for and thought enough of to receive “A Touch from Beyond” sentiment.

In 2007 my unique, touching cards received international recognition as the Best Innovative Personal Product from the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association. That same year my beloved Mother began a rapid decline to what proved to be ALS – Lou Gehrig’s disease. Being extremely close emotionally and physically, I took on her care-giving needs until she succumbed in July 2008.

When I received her final tribute video on a DVD I was heartbroken to think the life of my vibrant, brilliant, loving Mother had been reduced to a flat, bulky, unattractive disk. That was the inspiration for creating Memory Vessels – elegant, portable pieces that reflect the value of the life being remembered.

Memory Vessels are the only keepsakes that provide storage for meaningful physical mementos, along with photos, videos and voice recordings of our loved ones, be they people or pets.

I hope my inspirations help comfort and heal others as they anticipate, prepare for, or experience the end of life. I welcome your stories and invite you to contact me with any questions, comments and ideas you may have.

Thank you for your interest in, and support of, Memory Vessels.


Toni Noel