Thursday, October 7, 2010


Today marks two years that my sister was killed in a car accident. Jess was 28. A year ago we buried her ashes in a cemetery about 45 minutes from me. Tuesday of this week she finally got a headstone, thanks to my brother. He once made headstones as an occupation. He knew the perfect stone for Jess - Greenstone - found in Alaska where he lives.  When he found the perfect one, he carved it for her and made it special to her. He then shipped it from Alaska to Indiana so we could place it this week. And so it was, a 300 lb. One Duck Greenstone was placed on Tuesday of this week where my sister rests.

Jessy loved the color green. Her eyes were greenish blue quite similar to this stone. I am so proud of my brother for sculpting the perfect stone for Jess - it's not an easy thing to create your little sister's headstone. But he made something so unique and beautifully asymmetrical, just like Jess was. I think she would have been proud of what he accomplished for her. Not many of us think about how our headstone will look, or how it will represent us, but maybe we should. I read some information about this stone after my brother told me about its singularity. It's quite interesting and I wanted to share it...

This stone is "light jade" in color.  It has a distinctive, wavy banding -- of alternating light and dark greens.  This banding tells the geologist that the stone was formed as layers of deposition in a marine environment.  Its wavy pattern suggests that the water was turbid. Structural geologists call this rock "turbidite." It has a curious and distinctive manner of breaking.  To one sculptor, it breaks "like chocolate," to another, its cleavage pattern "suggests the mesas, arroyos, and other erosional elements of a southwestern desert."   Most sculptors like to utilize its attractive broken edges in their work.  One Duck Greenstone is harder than marble, but softer than granite.  One Duck Greenstone will not deteriorate in the outdoors.  Its polish will be long lasting. This stone comes from the One Duck Lake area of Prince of Wales Island.

Aren picked this stone b/c of its color. Or because of its forming in the ocean - Jess loved the ocean. 

Or maybe because it sat in turbid waters - dark and murky. This stone gained its beauty from its time as the ocean sediment. Beautiful things can be formed from seasons of darkness. My sister had definitely experienced her own seasons of this - but because she emerged from them - they made her the beautiful creation she was in the end to her Maker. 

Maybe because when the stone breaks its broken edges also become beautiful in a Sculptor's Hands. Jessy, like so many of us had broken edges - but God used them to make her more beautiful and unprecedented than before. 

Maybe because Greenstone is harder than most - but retains some softness in comparison to others. Jessy was a rock through so many things in life, she kept her soft heart though until the end. Her heart was overflowing in her last few days, her heart had softened so much. 

Its beauty is long lasting and polished. It does not matter that physically Jess is no longer here, her beauty will always remain. Her memory, polished and kept smooth - just like the very surface of that stone that marks her life and death.

All of these traits somehow parallel my sister in one way or another. I am not sure how many of those once among us that are no longer living can so symbolically tie their marker into a life, but I have to believe like all things God does when it comes to my sister - there is reason and lesson.

Thankful for life today. Thankful for my sister's life today. Thankful for the knowledge that someday, I will see her again. Thankful for our many memories and how they will continue to carry me through until that day I see her. And we will laugh and talk about the memories we made strawberry picking while I sang Coldplay's "Green Eyes" to her, she sang it with me. Interesting now, even... the lyrics to that song, combining the sea, a rock and green eyes. Sometimes I am not sure of God's plan or how or why He works, but I'll trust it... b/c without faith, I am nothing.

Love and miss you little sis. 
May each day I live be a tribute and a song to your life here, sweet girl, until we meet again.