Heart Stones

Normally I don’t wander graveyards which are new and in frequent use. Today, though, I had a little time to kill between dropping off Langston at his job and picking up my son from the college. Just across the street from the school, there is a modern graveyard that I’d never visited, so I opted to spend my 20 minutes there.

Half the cemetery was flat, with each grave marked only by a bronze plaque set flush with the ground. The other half had at least a few real tombstones, sheltered by some lovely old trees. I headed toward that half. As I walked along, gazing mostly up into the budding branches that were tangled above me, I kicked something. When I looked down I realized it was a stone, about the size of a silver dollar. At first I didn’t think anything of it, but then I realized there was a scattering of stones at my feet, and one of them was a heart made out of translucent glass.  After a beat, I realized that all the stones were heart-shaped.


Several of them were already on this marker, but a few were scattered in the grass surrounding the stone. I spent a few minutes gathering all that I could find and returning them to their rightful owner.

It was a beautiful if sad moment in my day, and I just had to share.


19 Comments on “Heart Stones”

  1. Morguie says:

    Yes. A Jewish tradition…leaving a stone when coming to honor and pay respect to their departed ones.

    • I sort of vaguely knew about Jewish stone-leaving, but I was uncertain if this was that … the heart-shape makes it possible that it’s just a family thing. I did look it up this morning, though, and Greenwald is considered a Jewish name.

      I think we should all leave a stone when we visit a grave. It’s a lovely tradition.

  2. zipcoffelt says:

    Love that they were all heart shaped as if the person leaving the stones was leaving his or her heart. Just as you said – beautiful and sad!!

  3. Ray Yanek says:

    Very poignant moment, you’re right. I didn’t know, like Morguie mentioned, that leaving stones was a Jewish tradition. Interesting.

  4. I always wonder about the things people leave at markers. The cemeteries near me have a few stones surrounded by stuff: night lights, balloons, Christmas trees, ornaments, garden decorations. Fun, but I feel for the people who have to mow around all that stuff.

    • There was another grave there – that of a teen, I think – which was surrounded by literally more than a hundred mementos. It seems the girl’s whole social circle had glass “stones” made that each encased a photograph of themselves.They were all over the plot. My thought was that they didn’t want her to be alone. Plus there were notes, and toys, and wind chimes, and flowers, and more.

      The grave was two years old.

  5. It’s funny you should mention heart stones. My sister-in-law has a knack for finding them everywhere. She’s collected hundreds over the years. Can’t say she’s ever found one in a graveyard, though!

    • I’m not sure I’ve ever found one as distinct as many of these were. I wonder what started her looking for them.

      I suppose I’ll be keeping an eye out for them now. It’s funny how a chance encounter can bring something you’ve never thought about to importance.

  6. scoobyclue says:

    that is quite tender

  7. How kind of you to return the stones to where they belonged. So many would just have kept going. I am long overdue for a cemetery stroll. Maybe this summer when Jim gets a weekend day off we can go and find Rod Serling’s grave or visit Samual Clemens. Neither is very far from where we live.

  8. Anna says:

    Wow. I wonder what the story is there. Sounds sad.

  9. This is lovely. Many dear friends of mine collect heart shaped stones. I will have to share this. Thank you for sharing.

    • I think I’ve mentioned that I’m going to visit my daughter in NC in June. She just sent me a message saying we can prowl some of the historic graveyards, but that we should get or find some heart-shaped stones to take with up. Perhaps it will become a new tradition. I knw I’ll be watching for them now.

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