At the Cemetery: Stones & Tears

As Jews, we carry not flowers, but stones to the cemetery. Flowers are beautiful but death is not — so we bring stones so as to be realists, so as not to gloss over the harshness and pain.

Our hearts are still torn – even as the years and decades may dull the searing sting.

Each stone holds stories…

of a parent’s or grandparents’ love for their child or grandchild, tragically stolen from this world in the wrong order, turning their lives upside down in a way that it may one day be better, but will never be completely right. 

of a spouse losing their soul mate and best friend — a bond built over decades suddenly broken, leaving the living with a desperate longing, half their life and half of themselves feel gone.

Stones marking friendships that sustained, parents who unconditionally loved, mentors who inspired, leaders who awed, humble people who loved and lived their best lives.

Stones hold tears. Of broken hearts. Of broken families.  Of broken lives. 

Yet stones can become smooth and grief can soften.

We leave the stones and we live.

We do not bring flowers but stones to the cemetery. Stones always remain as does our love.

[Image by Rainhard Wiesinger]

10 Comments Write a comment


  • Teri Orsini May 3, 2021

    Beautiful and poignant. Thank you for sharing, Rabbi Judy.

  • Joel Blady May 3, 2021

    Poignant… meaningful… honest. Thank you!

  • Peggy McManus May 4, 2021

    Thank you Rabbi Judy for your thoughtful words which are so meaningful.

  • Gwen Kaminsky May 4, 2021

    What a beautiful reflection. With your permission, I would like to share it with my congregation as we recognize my father’s yahrzeit later this month.

    • Rabbi Judith Schindler May 4, 2021

      That would be great. Thanks for sharing it. May your dad’s memory always be a blessing.

  • Sandra Friend May 4, 2021

    Speaks to my heart as Mother’s Day approaches.
    Thank you❤️

  • Carol Fay Sandler May 4, 2021

    Your words are true, Judy, and touch my heart. Thank you!

  • Ronald Liss May 7, 2021

    Thank you Rabbi Judy for always finding the exact right words to convey, and comfort! Hope your Mother’s day is special, just like you! Frances & Ron

  • Richard Simmons May 17, 2021

    Rabbi: as is usual you make it so easy for me to recall why we do what we have always done.

  • Lisa Blau May 18, 2021

    Beautiful, comforting, poignant. Thank you!

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