To live a life of meaning is to know that nothing is ever set in stone. Possibilities dwell on each new horizon and even the setting sun is touched by the promise of tomorrow.
And yet today, 14 months after your suicide we dedicate a stone that stands in stark contrast to that notion of hope and promise. This stone feels so very final, noted with a beginning and an end. The words speak of who you were to us in life; a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother and friend. But there is no space or place to honor who or what you might have become. The finality is undeniable and in truth, still unfathomable.
And then there are those fourteen words, meant to share what mattered most to you, and how you will be remembered. What did you value in your time on this earth?
To bask in the loving warmth of family and friends was his greatest blessing.
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
They can mark a final resting place
An eloquent monument for a loved one we’ve lost, whose death didn’t have to be.
Dad, today I lay on your footstone a piece of my home
Stones, shaped like hearts from the flatirons of Colorado
Lovingly gathered for me by friends that you will never get to meet
From the mountains so beautiful, that you will never get to see.
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 stone we dedicate today 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.
And 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
It 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.
July 5, 2016