While doing yard work last Saturday, I re-discovered my tombstone.
Yes, it is true. I have a tombstone, with my name on it, in my garden.
I’ve had it for about 12 years. It weighs about 300 pounds. I relocated it from our old house when we moved twelve years ago.
I came upon it by accident. A friend was building a stone chapel, and I’d help him on weekends.
One day as I was searching in his stone yard, for the next stone for a wall we were building, I rolled over this five foot long block of granite. The plan of the original stone cutter was that this would be a grave marker for CHARLES R. < insert last name here>, but the stone shattered in two, partway into the last name. So the stone was discarded in the reject pile.
The letters are in relief. That is, they are raised off the face of the stone by 3/8 inch. This was hand carved, prior to pneumatic stone cutting tools. The carver had to remove all the stone behind the letters. Each letter is about five inch high. He had invested a great many hours before the stone broke, negating all his sweat and toil.
When I saw the name, my friend told me I could have the stone, so I cut the stone after the first name and we managed to get the stone into my truck. By now if was about three feet long.
Our front yard is not a lawn. It is all perennial gardens. We keep it very informal. The walkways are all stones. I use this stone as a step up between two levels.
When I step out my door every morning, to begin my day, I glance to my right and I see my stone. A subtle reminder that this may be the last time I cross this way. I would like to think that this brief daily reminder of my mortality affects how I act, as I move through the day.
Don’t take today for granted. Don’t waste it. It might be all you have. That should be sufficient motivation to make today a good one, for you, and for everyone you meet.
Be Gratefully Defiant, and Live Well!