The Headstone


Today I went to the cemetery to look for my sister’s headstone. I ordered it 2 months ago, but her grave still lies unmarked.  My mother is easy to find, her name and picture engraved on black onyx shipped from India.  The words “Very Deeply Loved” can’t begin  to describe her life or who she was.

My sister’s stone “has been misplaced” I am told. I had hoped it would already be there, next to my mother, but it is not.  It is lost. Her stone will be white marble and simply say “Beloved Wife and Mother.”  But hidden at the end of that phrase will be “lost,” like the stone.

Watching my mother and sister die has not made me fear dying. I am more afraid of not living,  of remaining lost in an unforgiving swamp of rage.  I’m afraid I’ll miss something or run out of time. I don’t want to waste even one precious moment more by not living each day with passion and purpose…every day as if  it were my last.

Whether acts of kindness or cruelty, our experiences shape us. Who we ultimately become  is up to us. Healing comes as we choose to view ourselves and others through eyes of compassion and understanding.

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”  

— George Bernard Shaw