She and her family were anxious to find something special and significant to retain their mother’s ashes.
After struggling to find anything online, Made of Memories was born.
“My mother’s wish was to be cremated, leaving a part of her with us. We buried the remainder of her ashes with my father, keeping a part of her with those she loved forever,” Vanessa said.
“My family and I didn’t want to risk losing a part of my mother’s ashes in jewellery or something like this so the task as to what to do was passed to me, being the graphic designer of the family.”
One of 13 children, she decided to design and create personalised frames for each of her siblings.
“I presented the frames to all of my family one month after my mother passed away and to see the tears in their eyes, as they held the frame close to their hearts, gave me so much joy.
“On that day, all of my family got to take a piece of Mammy home with them. The peace and feeling that came with that began the healing process for all of us.
“It was then that I decided I wanted to create and produce these frames, so everyone can keep their memories of a loved one with them forever.”
The frames can hold ashes, personal items such as reading glasses, watches or letters, and a favourite photo, which can be chosen and ordered online, as a keepsake for a family who may have lost a loved one.
“Placing her ashes in a message in a glass bottle meant that we could see her ashes on our good and bad days and feel that she is with us at all times. I found the last birthday card from her before she passed away. It resonated with me so much that I wanted to see her signature of love every time I looked at her frame,” Vanessa explained.
Developing the concept from the idea phase into a fully-fledged business required additional help and the graphic designer acknowledged as “invaluable” the support of the Local Enterprise Office in Galway and the Galway Enterprise Board.
Since losing her mother, creating her own Made of Memories keepsake has played an important role in Vanessa’s healing process. “Like us all, once we lose someone so close and special to our hearts it is very hard to heal, but we do in time, bit by bit. I personally feel that every day since my mother passed away that she is with me and all of my family.
“Too often personal belongings are left hidden away in a drawer and forgotten about. Made of Memories allows you to put them all together in a way that stores previous memories forever,” she said.
A portion of the proceeds from her business goes to the Phylis Foundation, set up in memory of her mother to benefit Irish charities.
For more, log onto www.madeofmemories.ie or the Made of Memories page on Facebook.