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My Moms Stonestetting


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Hi everyone.

Today is 9 months to the date and day that my dear mother passed away. I miss her more than words can express, but I know all of you know exactly what I mean as you can relate it to your loved one that has passed on.

Anyways, it is customary in the Jewish religion to have a "Stonesetting" within the first year after a loved one has passed on. It's a simple ceremony at the gravesite that dedicates the headstone to the loved one who has passed. There are a few passages read and whoever wants to say anything can. When the headstone is placed, which is prior to the ceremony, there is a piece of muslin over the stone and sometime in the ceremony my brothers and I take it off. I am DREADING this!!! When we had this for my dad, I was sad but not as sad as I'm going to be for my mom. During her funeral, I was in shock and numb and sniffled mostly, but didn't cry as much as I did before she died or the months after she died. By now I have had a lot of time to process and understand the grief process and I'm much more in tune with what's going on.

So my husband and kids and I are flying back east for this August 1st and the Stonesetting will be on Aug. 2nd. This will be my first time back at the cemetary since she has passed away. I will see both my mom and dads graves side by side right next to each other. I am scared that I am going to explode!!!

Thankfully, it's not a long ceremony and it's more casual than a funeral. We have other family things planned for the weekend before we fly home.

You have all been so generous in the prayer department...can you spare an extra one for me to help me get through this with grace? I want to be strong. I want to talk to my mom alone at the cemetary after everyone leaves. I want her to know that I'm there for her and that she will always be with me. She and my dad will always be within me. After all, they created me.

Sorry for my rambling...I know you guys understand.

Hope all is well with everyone.

Take care...Lori

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Lori,

I'm sorry you have to face this. I sometimes think traditions, religious or otherwise, can be a real strain. But I know that with the understanding and progress of the grief process that you have now that you will get through it with grace and poise. Talking to your mom afterwards will be very emotional, but I think it will help you feel some peace. Good luck with it all.

Hugs,

Shell

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Lori

My sister in law just had this for her husbands grandmother. My husbands sister converted to judisim (we are catholic) and her girls are being raise jewish. they had to go on sat for this. she doesn't like it either.

i know it will be hard for you, try to tell yourself you will make it through. remenber your mom is with you, her body maybe there but her spirit soar!!!

I am with you in prayers and love. Lori

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Thanks Shell and Lori,

I appreciate your thoughts. It is going to be a whirlwind weekend that is planned on this trip. Not only do we have the stonesetting, but later that day my sister-in-laws and my niece are making a small bridal shower for my daughter who is getting married in October. Since were all going to be in the same city before her wedding, they wanted to do that...which I think might be a good thing...something to look forward to. Than all of us are driving to Indianapolis for a family reunion on my dads side of the family. So it'll be a very busy weekend. It's so hard to plan events these days with my side of the family since we live so far away, so that's why all of this is planned in one weekend. I'm kind of glad that it'll be busy and that I'll have lots of family around me in case I do need a shoulder to cry on.

You guys have been my lifeline to normalcy after my mom died. I hope I have been there for all of you as you have been there for me!

Take care and big hugs...Lori

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Thanks, Shell.

I'm starting to get that feeling in the pit of my stomache...you all know what I'm talking about. The best I can describe it is like I am going down the worlds tallest fastest roller coaster and my stomach is going to....you all get the picture!!!

I am so nervous for this stone setting. It'll be here in a few days and I guess I'll just have to roll with the punches.

Thanks for listening...Lori

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Lori,

That is a horrible feeling! Close your eyes, take a long deep breath, and think of something peaceful. I've often found that what I'm nervous about turns out to be not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I think you'll get through it fine and then you can relax. Good luck!

hugs,

Shell

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Lori, I think this ritual will made you cry, but I also think it will help you heal. I was never one for rituals before, but I have changed my mind about them. Before my daughter's death I never wanted to even have a wake for myself. I just wanted to be cremated and my ashes scattered. Now I realize that the wake and funeral are important for those left behind, as are other rituals like this stonesetting. It gives you another opportunity to let go of some grief and sadness. Take the time you need to talk with your mom. And also enjoy the other activities you have planned.

I have taken some of my daughter's ashes to the beach and scattered them and written messages in the sand. I also took some to her former boyfriend's home where she created lovely gardens that now hold some of her ashes. I am currently creating a memorial garden area in my yard. I've ordered a plaque with her name and birth and death dates which will be placed there along with several other pieces. When I place the plaque I plan to have a private ritual to dedicate the area to her memory. I am also adding it to my will that when I die I want her ashes mixed with mine and scattered.

Deborah

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Lori, dear ~

There is little I can add to what other members have said already, but since you’ve asked, I will offer what I can.

As you picture yourself at the cemetery for this stonesetting ceremony, ask yourself, “What is the worst that could happen?” Do you think you will cry uncontrollably, lose control of yourself, or otherwise “fall apart” in front of the other people there? If so, how do you suppose those others would react? Would they pass negative judgment on you, or would they instead accept this as normal and even expected behavior in such a setting, perhaps even reading this as a measure of how much you love and miss your mother? Would they be appalled at your behavior, turn around and leave in disgust? Or would they empathize with you and recognize your need for support? And who are these people who will be at the cemetery with you, anyway? Will they not be your closest family members, the ones who know you best and accept you as you are? In your message of July 24, you say you’re glad that you’ll have “lots of family around me in case I need a shoulder to cry on.” That sounds to me as if you like the people in your family and you can trust that they will “be there” for you in a compassionate and supportive manner, just as you would be there for them under similar circumstances. Harold Ivan Smith often says that the rituals we create can be great models for other people, and that our willingness to shed tears of grief in public can give permission to others to express their grief more freely, too. Maybe you can look at this as an opportunity to teach your other family members how better to help one another in grief.

If you really believe that you will lose control of yourself or do something embarrassing during this ceremony, Lori, what would happen if you share your concerns with one or two of your closest family members in advance, and ask for their understanding and support ahead of time? For example, you could say something like this: “I have no idea how this will go for me today, but for weeks I’ve been scared to death that I will do or say something stupid or silly or worse. If that should happen, please just bear with me, and know that I am doing the best I can. I need you to be there for me today, and one day, when you are in my shoes, I promise I will be there for you, too.” I’m reminded of something I read several years ago that I’ve placed on my Web site’s Comfort for Grieving Hearts page:

Remember that it won't always feel this bad.

Somehow it does change.

It does get better.

At the moment, take heart from those around you

who want to care for you

and be present for you in your distress.

They don't always know how,

they don't always do it right,

but they try.

Sorrow is a matter of taking turns.

This year, it's yours.

Next year, it might be you

setting the table for someone else

who feels that they cannot cope.

~Deidre Felton

In your post of July 22, you say, "I want to talk to my mom alone at the cemetary after everyone leaves. I want her to know that I'm there for her and that she will always be with me." Why not let your family know (again, in advance of the ceremony) of your needing private time to do this? You could even designate one family member who, at the agreed-upon-time, could quietly usher everyone else away from the site, so you can have your private time to to talk with your mom alone.

The key to all of this, Lori, is good communication with your family members. You know yourself better than anyone else does, you know what you want and what you need to help you get through this, and you also know which person(s) in your family you can most rely upon to help you. In addition, you know that all of us will be there with you too, because you will carry us in your heart ~ won't you?

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Thanks again everyone for your responses. Marty, what you say makes sense. I will tell my husband to make sure that I need some alone time with my mom at the cemetary. We are a pretty tight family, so I don't think anyone would care if I cried. They would completely understand. I'm just nervous about it. It's the anticipation of not knowing how I'll be. But since I don't know how I'll be until I get there, I guess I shouldn't worry about it as much as I am. Another thing that has me a little concerned is that I won't feel anything while I'm there and regret NOT feeling anything. Like a protective shell...afraid to feel. I've felt so much these last few months that I don't want to go back to those awful dark times.

I know in my heart how much I love and miss her and I suppose that is the thing that matters most of all; not necessarily how I'll react to this event.

I know you all will be with me and I really appreciate that!

Thanks again everyone for your thoughts and prayers!

Take care...Lori

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Lori,

There's one other way to look at this and all nervous situations and that is....so what? I'm not making light of it when I say that. I have made a fool of myself too many times to count in the past two and half years, when all the grief started. My emotions have just bubbled out, and not always at the "right" time or in front of people I would care to see me in that situation, and I would be horrified. Finally, I just thought....so what? What difference does it make? My grandfather used to say, "Ninety nine years from now you won't know the difference". I think of that often. I still try to control my emotions when I'm not in a place where I feel I should express them, but if I do cry or do anything that seems embarrassing, I just blow it off now and figure, so what? This is OUR lives and we should not worry about what others think so much. You have every right to cry or whatever, so relax and be yourself.

Hugs,

Shell

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Thanks Shell,

I love that. Relax and be yourself. I'm going to do that...that's all I can do!!! What ever will be will be! I remember one day last year I was talking to my mom on the phone and I told her that I was scared that it would be the last time I was going to talk to her...that she just wouldn't wake up or she'd have a heart attack (she had congestive heart failure, but ultimately a cancerous tumor was the culprit)and her response was "Ce la Ve"!!! That's life, whatever, so what...it all means the same thing! She was a funny lady. She would agree and love your analogy!

Thanks again and take care...Lori

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Lori,

It's uncanny that you used those two sayings: whatever will be, will be and Ce la Vie. One of my favorite songs as a child was Que Sera, sera". My mom told me I used to sing along to it all the time, and I grew up with that philosophy. And one of my grandfathers (same one that said "ninety nine years from now you won't know the difference") other favorite sayings was "Ce la vie". I'll add another favorite of mine that a friend once told me when I was in a difficult situation, "Do your best, and then the hell with it"! Not as eloquent as the others, but to the point! :D

Hugs,

Shell

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Hey Everyone,

We leave Wednesday for back east for the stonesetting. I feel better about it just knowing that whatever I feel is the right way. I have realized that there isn't any etiquette on how to act at one of these things. The weather is supposed to be nice. My daughter said that we should wear something bright because my mom would have wanted it that way. So I think that I will. After the stonesetting we have a lot of family things planned which should be fun. Thanks everyone for your responses and endless caring!

Take care...Lori

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Thanks Shell...today I'll be busy running last minute errands and possibly going into work for a little bit. I'll be busy enough as to not spend too much time to think about the anticipation of the stonesetting.

I'm ok; not to sad about this (right now!). If I turn this around and reverse this, I could look at this as a nice dedication to my mom rather than dreading going back to the cemetary and making it about me rather than her. It'll be good for me to see my dad at the cemetary too. I know that they are together and that makes me happy.

I'm glad that I had this opportunity to "talk" to all of you before I leave on my trip. It has really helped me to sort things out!

Take care...Lori

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi everyone...First of all to everyone new on these boards, my thoughts are with you at this difficult time. I just wanted to say that I'm back from my trip back east. We had my moms stonesetting and it really went well. Yes I cried and yes it was sad, but some people spoke and it was very nice. I spent a little extra time at the gravesites of my parents with my daughters at my side and we said some private words to both my mom and dad. I actually wish I had more time to spend at the cemetary, but we had a busy weekend with other family events. We also went to a family reunion from my dads side of the family. I was able to see some cousins that I hadn't seen in years. They were all glad to see me, my husband and children and they all had so many nice words to say about my mom and dad. I really feel like I made a real turn around a huge corner after this trip, all for the better.

This healing journey is so up and down, but the further time gets away from when my mom died, last October, I am starting to see much progress in this journey. With my daughters upcoming wedding just about 7 weeks away, there are a lot of positive events coming up. I think somehow my mom had a hand in planning when she was going to die so as I could start the grieving process in enough time to be prepared for my daughters wedding. I know that sounds funny, but I really do believe that. I know my mom would have done anything to still be alive to have made it to the wedding, but somehow, she knew that she wouldn't make it but still wanted me to be ok for it. When she was in the hospital, she stressed to me to not deeply grieve for too long, and to keep keep the family together and to continue with planning for my daughters wedding. I am going to honor all of this as she would want me to do this.

Take care everybody...Lori

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Lori,

I am fairly new to this sight. I lost my mom to cancer June 10th- and I know the roller coaster ride.

I read your story and was so glad that it went as well as it did for you.

I am not to the point to make plans of any kind, but have been told that things will get better, I don't know. My mom was my rock, I will never be the same...

I am proud of you and the accomplishments you have made!

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Hi Rosanne...things will get better, but you have to work at it REALLY HARD!!! Don't expect too much of yourself in the beginning. I still have my bad days, and I think about my mom every day, but in my case time has been on my side. Also has been this support group, friends, and my family. I expect that it'll come up at my daughters wedding during the ceremony that reference will be made about both my parents and yes, I expect to cry and express my feelings, but I am at a point in my healing where I know that this wedding isn't about me...it's about my daughter and her husband to be and I know that my mom and dad would never want me to be sad on her wedding day! I am lucky that I will have almost 1 year of time to go through this process before the wedding. It's an ongoing journey...

Take care...Lori

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