Remembering her late and greatly beloved mentor, Caitrin Keiper writes:
It is the custom to put pebbles on a Jewish grave. Flowers wilt and die, but stones are everlasting; they signify the permanence of memory.
Two dear friends were getting married in the city where Amy is buried on what happened to be the anniversary of the day she died. My family flew in early with the intention of paying our respects at the cemetery the day before. I picked up some colorful pebbles from the gift shop of the science museum where she had worked in college, and practiced again and again what I was going to say, how I was going to pour my heart out and tell her how much I missed her and how adrift I was, with the latent, irrational hope, not exactly sanctioned by either of our faiths, that somehow things would clarify when I did.
I did most of the talking, but even so, I didn’t have the heart to give the speech I had imagined. What’s the use? She is gone, she cannot hear me, it’s sad and terrible and futile, and I don’t really know why I came. I tried to arrange the pebbles somehow, but they kept slipping down the polished surface of the gravestone. I re-gathered them into a pile as best I could, and left.
At the wedding the next day, her widower, the love of her life, came up to me. He too had gone out to visit her, first thing in the morning, and been speechlessly moved to find her grave covered in a rainbow of stones. Did I by chance have anything to do with it?
This, I realized, this is the point. I am not here to receive a message but to give one to someone who needs it far more. There is purpose at work here.