Amazing Grace Stones (A.G.S.)

The Story Behind “Amazing Grace Stones”

My wife Jeannette after a courageous 3 ½ year battle with stage IV pancreatic cancer, went home to heaven on October 14, 2022. As you who have lost loved ones know, there are a variety of decisions to be made. Chief among those details was where Jeannette would be laid to rest and what kind of gravestone I would choose for her.

Jeannette’s father in law had made pre-arrangements for his funeral.  Immediately following a Pet Scan Jeannette had in Pittsburgh, she drove back to Holland, MI with me to be with my father before he died on April 1st, 2022.  After his funeral, Jeannette and I took his casket down to Alamo, GA in my parents handicapped accessible van (yes we did).  We laid him to rest there with a shared gravestone marking his burial site.

In that process of preparing for dad’s funeral, Jeannette and I made a couple of decisions.  First, we would not be buried in Alamo, GA.  Second we would, like my folks, have a shared gravestone marking the grave.

What I didn’t realize when Jeannette died is that you can’t just order a gravestone and have it come the next day.  The funeral home informed us that we would not receive the gravestone until sometime before Memorial Day.  So, even though we would have a burial plot selected before the funeral, we would not have a gravestone.

In light of this, our son Benjamin, came up with the idea of handing out a grace stone (we didn’t call it that at the time) to everyone who attended Jeannette’s funeral.  He invited individuals to take a stone and share a memory of Jeannette.

In the weeks that followed, we discovered that many people had kept those stones as momentos to Jeannete and/or as a way to remember other loved ones who had left a legacy for them.  

Still, I was waiting for a grave stone to arrive.  Going to the cemetery without any marker felt sad.  Finally, shortly before Memorial Day, Jeannette’s gravestone arrived.  So, I planned to walk alongside the memorial day parade as veterans made their way to Pilgrim Home Cemetery where Jeannette was also buried.  Then I thought I would pay my respects.  

I had hoped my trip to the cemetery would provide closure.  Instead, it left me wanting some other ways to remember Jeannette.  That is when I thought back to the stones Ben had distributed at the funeral.  Why not carry the “gravestone” with me as an “Amazing Grace Stone”.   And why not keep handing them out to others who had lost loved ones?

When I “paraded” to see Jeannette’s gravestone on Memorial Day, it was very difficult.  I do go back there from time to time and certainly understand others who find it meaningful.  Still, I want to transition (and maybe others do too) from a focus on the loss and pain represented in that “gravestone” marking her death.  I want  instead, to celebrate God’s grace to me through her life and God’s grace to her in her life to come.

hide page