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The Funeral Stone

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posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 10:29 AM
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My first short story post here...please be gentle. Just kidding...be brutally honestly.


 

A few years ago, while attending the wake for my friend Rob's father, who had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. I noticed Rob's son Avery, who was about 5 years old at the time, standing in a corner of the room, quietly, taking it all in, glancing every once in a while at the casket. He looked so lost and so sad in the way he had distanced himself from everybody. At friend and family gatherings like this, Avery would typically be in pawpaw’s lap or tagging along as pawpaw heading for the fishing dock to check out how the fish were biting.

All the adults were busy talking, some crying, most caught up in their own thoughts or in comforting Avery’s two little sisters and the various other grandchildren or pawpaw’s wife. Avery’s big brother was sitting with his friends, my own son among them, and seemed to be okay for the moment. As I walked over to Avery, thinking, wishing there was something that could ease his pain, my hand went in the side pocket of my blazer, and I subconsciously started feeling the piece of amethyst I kept with me as a touch stone, to help me think and calm me down, and I was never without it.

I wondered if maybe he just needed this alone quiet time and whether I should even head over there. And I thought about how it must feel to him. His first funeral. The dead body of a man he loved and idolized laying in a box. Maybe not quite understanding what happened next or what this all really meant. I remembered my first experience with death and a funeral at the age of 17, also my grandfather’s, and how that felt. Overwhelming. Sad. As if someone had just suddenly shut the lights out and left us all in the dark. As I pulled up a chair and sat down next to where he was standing, he looked over and could see a little tear forming at the corner of his eye.
“Hi,” he murmured, as he wiped away the tear.

“Hi, Avery. I’m so very about your pawpaw,” I said, “I know you’re going to miss him very much.”

“I already do,” he replied quietly. “Who’s going to teach me to fish?” And with that he came over and sat down next to me. “I don’t know why he had to die now.”

“I don’t either, sweetie. It really never makes sense. All we can do is be happy pawpaw was here for the time we had him and remember him forever in our hearts, right?”

“I’m not happy. There’s so many things I still need tell him,” Avery said. “Now there’s no way I can.”

“You can still talk to him, Avery,” I said.

“No, I can’t. He’ll be gone. They’re going to put him in the ground. It’ll be dark there and lonely. He won’t hear me.”

There wasn’t really any comeback to that, was there? To a five-year old, that was about the size of it. A hole in the ground. Dark. Maybe heaven, like his mom told him? “He’ll hear you in heaven, wherever you are,” I replied.

“Yes. Maybe he will. But I want to talk to him now.”

Well this wasn’t helping, and I was clearly more than useless, so we sat there in silence for a while, each lost in our thoughts, the noises in the room and people swirling around us. My hand once again went to the stone in my pocket. Unconsciously, I pulled it out and stated turning it over and over between my fingers, and then I noticed Avery looking at it. “What’s that?” he asked, when I looked over at him.

“It’s a magical stone,” I answered, “It helps me with things. Do you think maybe it could help you too?” I handed it over to him.

“How?” he asked as he took the stone and started examining it.

“Well,” I replied, “Magical stones can do all kinds of things. Whatever you want or need them to do. Tell you what...remember when you said you had so much to tell pawpaw? And how it would be dark where he was going?”

“Yes.”

“What if you could give this stone a message for pawpaw? “

“How?”

“Well you could go outside with it and sit under the moon and talk to pawpaw. Tell him the things you really, really want to say to him one more time. Tell him you love him and will never forget him? How would that be?”

“Good.”

“And you could kiss the stone and give it to pawpaw so he can take it with him.”

“I could?”

“Sure,” I said, “why not?”

“I could put it in the box with him? They won’t take it away?”

“No, they won’t take it away. Pawpaw can take it with him. To remind him of you. To always have your words with him and your light.”

“Okay!”

“Okay? Good.”

“I’ll be right back.”

I watched as he made his way across the room and out to the front porch steps. A little boy with a mission that was tugging at my heart. He sat there for a while, looked up at the sky, and then started whispering to the stone. It took a while, and there was some wiping of the eyes, but finally he was done. As he came back in, he was looking a little tentative, and by the time he made it back to me, I realized why. “Ready to give the stone to pawpaw?”

“Yes. Am I allowed to?”

“Yes you are. People are allowed to go over to say goodbye and even to give him things like a kiss or a stone. Walk over to him and tuck it in so he has it always.”

“Where?”

“Well you could put it in his hands or near his ear. Make sure you tuck it in good so that it doesn’t fall out.”

“Okay, I will,” and with that he made his way over to the casket. He climbed up the kneeling steps, and whispered something I couldn’t hear, and then he placed the stone near pawpaw’s ear and kissed him. During this time, his mom looked over at me with a questioning look on her face. “It’s okay…tell you later,” I mouthed back. She nodded and watched too.

Avery came back over and said, “I did it,” and for the first time that night there was peace in his face.

I smiled back and said, “Good job. Now pawpaw and you have a special connection forever, right?”

“Yes,” he said, and then he wandered off, and it was time to go.

The next day at the burial, when the service was over and the words were said, just after the handfuls of dirt and flowers were done being thrown over the casket and everyone was making their way back to the cars, Avery came over and took my hand to walk. “My stone is there with pawpaw,” he said.

“Yes, it is, Avery. Fovever,” I answered.

“Good , ” he said, and smiled.
_____________________________
Post Scripts:
About a week later, Avery’s mom called me. When I answered the phone, she said, “Thanks.” That’s all. Just thanks.

I asked, “Um, for what?

“For the stone.”

And, unfortunately, in the volunteer work I do, sometimes kids die. After the experience with Avery, let’s just say, quite a few whispered stones have made their way to heaven.

[edit on 8/17/2010 by ~Lucidity]




posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 10:34 AM
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Very touching story, Thank you for sharing it with us.



~meathead



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 10:42 AM
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Very beautiful story.

Thank you for sharing. Now make this short story, a long one, because I was really into it.



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 02:10 PM
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Well there ya go... A three hanky story...

Thank you

Really...

peace



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 05:48 PM
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Thanks, Mike, Oozii, and Silo
That didn't hurt a bit. Glad you guys enjoyed.



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 06:34 PM
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That's a very nice story.
It brings a touch of humanity to the mad house will call ATS.

PEACE

Slay



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 08:08 PM
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reply to post by ~Lucidity
 


Great story. It does tug at the heart strings.
I think you should consider a part 2.


This may become one of my new "favorite" forums.


[edit on 17-8-2010 by Glimmer]



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 10:02 PM
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~Lucidity,

Great story. Is it true?

I've used a similar technique working with teens and the metaphors are just as true and just as healing (at the least, it is part of the healing) and closure process. S/F. Big thumbs up.



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 10:05 PM
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reply to post by LadySkadi
 

Thank you very much, LadySkadi. Yes it's true. It's amazing what a lasting impression this made for him and the other kids. I'd love to hear more about what you do. Have you written about it?

Thanks, Slayer and Glimmer too



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 10:20 PM
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Gripping tale. Didn't know if something was going to pop out from some unknown spot or not. And I had to blink away the tears more than once. What does that tell ya?

Great combo.

Please write more!!!!!!!!!

Toni



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 09:26 AM
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reply to post by Antoniastar
 

Thanks for reading, Toni. I'll try to write more...lol. Most of what I'm working now are boring marketing/advertising campaigns and a screenplay.


[edit on 8/18/2010 by ~Lucidity]



posted on Aug, 25 2010 @ 01:27 AM
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reply to post by ~Lucidity
 

You're welcome!!
Wow you do screenplay? That sounds fun. I guess you do write a lot then...it sounds like it anyway. Market stuff...oh yeah. Better you than me.


I prefer fiction. It's stretches my brain out. My head's not tall enough. haha

Toni



posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 01:33 PM
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Great story. Thanks for posting it.




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