Cairn #5: A Memorial Marker

The cairn as a memorial marker
designating our grief and loss.

Grief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life. ~Anne Roiphe

On those days when we cannot seem to find happiness,
we should substitute hopefulness.

~ Karen, age 22

As we journey together during this tumultuous year, we all have reasons to grieve. We have all lost something, even if our losses may not seem as significant as those of others. Jim and I have been fortunate, but our losses include a family vacation, seeing our dear sons, hugs with my mom, and the precious time we would have spent differently. We will certainly look back on 2020 as a significant time, a time to mark or designate as a time of life-changing loss.

If you are like me, most of the time we try to handle losses with acceptance, grace and dignity. We compare our sorrow with someone whose grief and loss are much greater, and we tell ourselves that we are fortunate. We remind ourselves that God will heal, restore, and resurrect all things in time. We look around for the blessings that remain, and hope for hidden blessings that may arise from our losses. As people of faith, we turn to the source and reasons for our abiding peace and hope.

But we do not need to deny or discount the incredible sadness deep within us. Our tears are no indication that we have lost faith or hope. We can grieve for the losses we have endured, the people we miss, the heartbreak we have suffered. We can grieve for others who are hurting deeply, too. Our weeping is a cleansing time, a time to release our sadness into the universe.

Today we will use our stone as a memorial. We will acknowledge our grief, remember with gratitude what we have lost, and honor our sadness as sacred. Our stone provides us with an opportunity to weep if we choose. But we will grieve with hope. We will grieve as community. We will grieve for others and we will grieve together. We will welcome our tears and embrace our pain as we hold one another in our hearts.

Tomorrow we shall move on. Today we take time to grieve.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ.

(2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NRSV)

(As you place your stone, consider these words) “I place this memorial stone and remember with both sorrow and gratitude…”

Redeeming and resurrecting God,

I place this stone with gratitude for the love you give to all who are grieving today. Today I grieve, for myself and for all who are sad at this moment. May this stone serve as a reminder to turn to you for healing and comfort, to trust in you for hope and resurrection. Thank you for your peace beyond my understanding. Help me to comfort others who need your tender care and compassion, as we journey on through life together. Amen.

(My quote at age 22 was written shortly after the death of my dear cousin and friend, Sharon.)

Next week’s cairn theme will be A Turning Point.

Photo by Matteo Grando on Unsplash

6 Comments on “Cairn #5: A Memorial Marker

  1. Although I say this to myself most every time I read your posts, here it is again: “This one is very helpful!”. I truly can picture you, standing in front of a group of people, be it in a church, lecture hall, guest speaker at a gathering. Your eyes are connected with your listeners as you speak in a gentle, mindful tone but with a sense of humor splattered in appropriately once in a while 🙂 You have been given such a gift Karen, and in my personal opinion, you continue to use it wisely to glorify God. This blog serves my long term needs, as well as immediate, because I save them all. Then I can go back and re-read previous ones, as a help to refresh my soul & heart. Thank you so very much for sharing your gift.


    • Oh my, I have tears. Thank you so very much, dear Kay. I’m humbled and grateful to have blessed you. You are a blessing to me. ❤


  2. Kay Ernest said it so well Karen! What you have to say leaps off the page and Morphs into a person! It’s what gave me a hunger to know you better that years ago time l “ met” you in Christ in our Home! I saved it and the one following last year! You do have an unmatched gift for reaching out and connecting and l love that l can go back and reread your posts, which are lined up so nicely❣️👍
    May God Continue to Bless you❣️❤️💕 💖🙏🙏🙏


    • Once again, I’m so touched to read your words! Doubly blessed today. Thank you, dear Pat. You reached out to me, a gift I will always treasure.


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