To live a life of meaning is to know that nothing is ever set in stone.
Stones – they can be used to build bridges or be a source of destruction. They can trip us up, placing obstacles in our path, or be the foundation of a new beginning. They can be collected as remembrances of new places we visit and memories we make. They can be polished, smooth, turned into ornaments. They can be rough and jagged, worn down by the elements. They can weigh us down if we try to carry too many of them on our own, a truth we know all too well.
And …they can mark a final resting place. An eloquent monument for a loved one we’ve lost, whose death didn’t have to be. Mother Theresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
We who loved you are the ripples. The continuing legacy to that stone your life cast. And it is in those ripples that we must find you and carry you forward. This headstone will stand for eternity. It is heavy like grief yet strong like the human spirit, it will not wither. Neither is it left untouched by passing storms. It is not where we find you, but where we instead honor you. It is where we come to remember, to cry, to talk, and to feel as if we are with you. As we strive to move forward in a world without you, one where so many others know the same pain that you felt, suffering in silence, and feeling alone, I offer you one last promise:
Your life and death won’t be for nothing nor be without meaning. No stone will be left unturned. No matter how deeply rooted they are in shame or stigma. If even one life can be saved from telling our story, then the ripples of your legacy, your life, and even your loss will be without end.