Finding a message in a cracked stone

She entered our lives in a cloud of sourness, tossing off cruel comments as casual conversation. Sometimes pain is masked by crankiness, and clearly T. was in tremendous pain. The loss of her 17-year-old grandson had devastated her, but she was made of stern stuff so she soldiered on. In an effort to alleviate some of her sorrow she approached us to have stones made with his ashes, although her expectations were low that anything could lift her grief. I had never had a customer with such an attitude, and it made me very anxious. I did not want to disappoint her.

I was just taking out the last of her stones when she pulled into the driveway. She scrutinized each one, not making any comment. Usually this is the part where the tears are flowing and we are hugging, but T was having no part of it. Suddenly we heard a “pop” and I looked down at the table next to us. The last stone had cracked wide open in a Pac-Man grin! I was stunned and figured she would be really upset, but she began laughing and crying. “That’s him! He is sending me a message! We share a cracked sense of humor!” And all of her toughness melted away and the deeply grieving grandma showed through. She spent the next hour telling me stories about this wonderful young man and it was obvious how much she loved him. We hugged as she left, and she asked if she could call me from time to time when she was really missing him, and of course I agreed.

A cracked stone has never happened before or since, but for this customer it was a much-needed message at the perfect time.