Designed the Monument for My Mother

After seven months, my mother’s monument had finally arrived and had been installed at her gravesite last Tuesday. I was anxious and nervous. I prayed that it would turn out the way I had expected. We had worked so hard on the design and I wanted to make sure that every detail was correct. On Sunday, I took my family to visit her grave and I was relieved that her monument turned out perfect. The black granite headstone shipped from India looked gorgeous. The smooth, curvy shapes added a nice touch to the headstone. The heart-shaped jade was firmly recessed into the stone with epoxy. Finally, the typesetting was excellent.

When I shopped around for my mother’s monument, I needed someone not only I could trust but also someone with patience and understanding. Even though we had to paid a bit more, I went with Heritage Monuments, which is a division of Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home that provided exceptional funeral service for my mother. I worked closely with Kathy Snyder Guidos who was very patience and understanding, especially when it came to typesetting.

At first, I did not understand the process; therefore, I wanted to set the text with Queens, designed by Sebastian Losch, to match the tribute website I had created for my mother. It turned out that I couldn’t use any typeface I wanted. I had to choose one of the typefaces from the catalog. I went with Garamond, but it didn’t work either because I wanted to set the text in a block. The only typeface that could accommodate the block was Modified Roman, which is a modified version of Time New Roman. Ms. Guidos and I went back and forth countless of iterations to make sure the alignment, the words, and the Vietnamese diacritics were correct. I didn’t want to be an annoying client, but Ms. Guidos had reassured me that they won’t start the project until I was completely satisfied with the design. I was grateful for her accommodation.

In addition to the text, I wanted to include a heart-shaped jade (my mother used to wear) on the headstone. Ngọc (Jade) was her middle name and my cousin, Karen Huỳnh, had shared an important detail about Jade. She wrote:

[W]hen our grandfather (her Dad) gave her the middle name, 玉 (Yù) in Chinese, translated to Ngọc in Vietnamese, he had in effect shaped her person, inscribed, etched, and carved her personality, character, and temperament. This beautiful name 玉 (Yù) or Ngọc means Jade in Chinese. In Chinese tradition and culture, 玉 (Yù) represents “fair, pure, and graceful (as in a woman).” Your Mom is the embodiment of these wonderful qualities… Looking back at your Mom’s life, I believe that her life experiences undeniably reflect the qualities of jade described above. What a special precious gem your Mom was! As a person, as a daughter, as a mother, as a grandmother, as an aunt, she truly lived a life befitting the name, 玉 (Yù).

I cried with tears of joy that her monument turned out well. It was the last thing I could do for her. I love her and miss her everyday.

Bonjour Vietnam