I come from a family of rock hounds. As you might imagine, I inherently love rocks and stones of all sorts. To me, they hold countless stories. And well, no surprise, I’m also in love with storytelling. But the ritual I’m sharing below brings a whole new meaning to telling stories.
At a recent memorial for a woman who was an extraordinary Wife, Grammy, Mom, Sister, and Friend . . . the family offered this participatory ritual for guests to enjoy before and after the service. We held the ceremony at the Tucson Botanical Gardens on an early spring afternoon blessed with gentle rain. Out on the patio, these stones were set on the fountain wall for people to write messages or draw pictures upon. It was a reflective and sacred kind of space, very inviting for people as they remembered her well.
Looks beautiful and thoughtful, right?It is a wonderful idea to include in a Celebration of Life for someone who enjoyed collecting rocks. But wait, the very coolest part is WHY this ritual holds meaning for the family:
The woman we were remembering loved to draw words and pictures on rocks and randomly place them out in the yard for her grandkids (four adorable young boys) to find. From what I gathered, it was rather like an ongoing easter egg hunt in a way, full of surprise and ongoing fun for the boys to find what little treasures of rocks their Grammy hid for them around the front, sides and back of her yard. The day we met to plan the service, a family member even found one such rock with a drawing of a face on it. This felt uncanny and incredibly touching. Everyone was visibly moved when they heard this story during the storytelling in the service.
An example like this is one of many ways we can connect to each other and the person who has passed during times of remembrance. I believe having this kind of a participatory and tactile ritual, holding relevance to the people present as well as the deceased, can be a very unifying element in a memorial or celebration of life. What ideas have you seen, experienced or dreamt up that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear!