ALS is a devastating disease with no known cure. The degenerative disease targets the brain and spinal cord, leading to the loss of control of voluntary muscles controlling speech, and limb movements as well as others. Watching a loved one suffer in such a way is painful, and the loss even more so. One woman decided to grieve in a way that some of her friends just didn’t understand, but we think that it is beautiful.
Six months ago my husband died of ALS. There was no dignity involved, and though he was a kind person at his core, the disease broke him to the point that he self medicated and became someone none of his loved ones recognized. For two years we lived with a very difficult situation, and after he died, most of our mutual friends disappeared.
Then people I thought were my friends started telling me how I should grieve, what I should and shouldn’t talk about, how I should behave. I wasn’t doing or saying anything crazy; I was just grieving in what I thought was a pretty typical fashion. So, I’m starting over at 54 in more ways than one. Who ever thinks this will actually happen? I sure didn’t, but luckily I’m flexible and adaptable and basically pretty happy.One of the things my husband used to do before he got sick was bring me interesting rocks. I liked that better than flowers or other typical gifts, and I had a jar for my rocks on the kitchen window sill. After he passed, I put all the rocks in the garden. Then I got to thinking about how happy they made me, and I wondered how I could share that. I went out to the garden and picked up some of the rocks, then I collected more in different places. I spray painted them in bright colors – purple, yellow, raspberry, coral, and teal.
Then I wrote positive words on them – words like enchantment, epiphany, glorious, and other positive things. I live in a small town with a very quaint downtown area that sees a lot of interesting functions. I took 30 rocks downtown and put them in window sills and doorways, on benches and outside bistro tables, in planters and on statues. I’m hoping that whoever found them will have a happy moment and spread that joy because there is no joy like the joy you get from found things that bring a smile to your face. For me, this is what regenerative kindness is all about.
Celebrating life and the things that we enjoy is a unique trait of all humans. Being able to spread that joy in simple ways can touch the lives of other people in ways that we might never be able to predict, and this woman has the exact right idea. If you see a brightly colored rock with an inspirational word, cherish it and hide it somewhere new for another person to find.
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