There are just some things in life that absolutely suck so much that mere words cannot convey the true utter magnitude of exactly HOW much they f#cking suck - purchasing a headstone after one's spouse unexpectedly passes away is definitely towards the top of that list. When my husband's sudden death thrust me in the position of planning a funeral/burial, becoming a single parent, needing to relocate, all whilst surfing the waves of emotions from others & dealing with my own horrible gumbo o' grief, the LAST thing I wanted to do, or could do really, was select & purchase a freaking headstone. Oh & write an obit. So I waited a year... A year later I was able to write an "in memoriam" notice for the person I thought I'd spend the rest of my life with. But I didn't know the 1st thing about buying a monument. Someone in my then-neighborhood's on-line parent group recommended Shastone to me. I called up & spoke to Russell. Immediately I was struck by his level of compassion & accommodation. First off, he had the cemetery on file, so within minutes he had the precise size requirements of my husband's particular section. I made it clear I was clueless, he asked a few basic questions & then started feeding me some easy-to-digest info. He directed me to their website &, upon hearing I was on my iPhone without a desktop in front of me, took out his phone so he could guide me to the pertinent images directly how they appeared on my phone (since the screen breaks there are different than on a desktop). As he introduced me to some images & ideas, I started to form some on my own & discussed them with him. He then sent me a preliminary email outlining some costs & specifics. I was very impressed but of course I wanted to shop around & make sure I made a thorough decision. Though Shastone's prices are reasonable, this was not a cheap purchase. Perhaps the level of customer service Russell was providing is industry standard, perhaps I could get what he was offering for cheaper. I asked around & called a few other recommended companies. OMG, it was then I realized how special Shastone & Russell were - one such "highly" recommended place was so terrible over the phone - I called & they asked for the cemetery's required measurements. Since I still really didn't know what the damn numbers on the cemetery sheet meant (width first or height? are these inches??), I just started reading numbers slowly. The guy cut me off & said "Yeah all our granite costs between blah blah blah & blah blah blah" (actually cost more than Shastone). It was like ordering a pizza. A death pizza. I resumed my correspondence with Russell & dare I say it - he made this process as, pleasant as possible. Who knew that I would like jet black granite so much? Who knew the pleasure I would feel when I found just the right carved roses? He even guided me through the most difficult part for me, which was deciding on the images. For several personal reasons I won't outline here, this was the trickiest part. I can't even estimate how many emails transpired between us - me giving him ideas, him sending me photos, examples etc. Every now & then I would apologize for the back & forth, & he would always be patient & comforting. He would sometimes offer his opinion but in a way that made it clear, that was only his preference (note, he prefers symmetry while my scrapbooking style would sometimes pull me towards asymmetry!). At one point I was at a standstill, he recommended I step away for a weekend. Eventually, everything clicked into place & it was about as satisfying as something this sad could be. Note, I never had to visit the showroom. Everything was done by phone & email. Should any of you out there ever be in this position, I would highly recommend Shastone to you. FYI anytime I called & Russell was out, I was treated with the same courtesy by anyone who answered the phone. Thank you, Russell & Shastone. The stone is beautiful & perfect. A fitting tribute to my amazing, beloved husband.