On Valentine’s Day, it’s easy to focus on romantic love and forget about all the other kinds of love that live in the human heart: love for siblings, love for children, love for friends, love for animals, love for parents, love for caregivers, love for students, love for teachers. On this Valentine’s Day, I want to remind you of these other loves and share a story about one woman’s love for her son.
The farmers market was almost over. Some of the less patient vendors were already packing. I’m an until the bitter end kind of gal, so I hadn’t put away a single item I wanted to sell.
Two women walked up to my table. They seemed to be Native Americans, probably from the local tribe if I had to guess. They appeared to be in their late 50s and were maybe sisters or maybe cousins or maybe close friends. In any case, there was an easy companionship between them.
We were about a month from Valentine’s Day, so I showed them, as I’d shown everyone who’d approached my table that day, the stone hearts cut from labradorite, rose quartz, agate, and carnelian that I had for sale. I also pointed out my new septarian concretions and the Arkansas quartz points I’d picked up earlier in the week. The women discussed the stones, slipping seamlessly from English to their native language, then back again.
The woman to my left had long, dark, curly hair, and she wore glasses. She picked up a septarian nodule and it slipped from her hand and fell onto the concrete sidewalk. She couldn’t apologize enough.
Don’t worry about it, I told her. That rock is a million years old.* It’s been through a lot.
Her companion giggled at my joke, but I could tell the woman who’d dropped the stone was mortified. Of course, I prefer my merchandise not to hit concrete, but there was no sense being mad at someone who’d had an accident. I know the woman had no intention of being disrespectful towards me or my stones.
The woman with curly hair returned the septarian nodule to the bowl with the others of its kind and began sorting through the heart stones. Her companion had wandered to the next table before the woman with the curly hair found the perfect heart stone, a red agate.
My son died six years ago, she told me. I stopped what I was doing and looked into her eyes.
Oh, I’m sorry, I murmured. I never know what to say to people when they confess their heartbreak.
He loved loved loved rocks, she said with a big smile. I’m going to leave this on his grave, she explained, showing me the heart stone in the palm of her hand.
I miss him, she said quietly. I love him so much.
I’m sure he loved you too, I told her. Loves, I corrected myself. I’m sure he still loves you.
He does, she said with absolute confidence. He tells me he loves me. He tells me he’s ok. He tells me he’s happy.
The woman paid for the heart stone and caught up with her friend who had moved on down the row of vendors.
I enjoy selling stones that make people happy. I like selling Arkansas quartz points to kids who look at the clusters as if they were diamonds. I like selling septarian concretions to people who enjoy the way they feel in the hand. I like selling ammonite pairs to folks who give them as meaningful gifts and kyanite pieces to jewelers who use them to create pieces of wearable art. Most of all, I like selling stones to people who share their pain and joys with me and let me know they’ll use the stones to maintain a heart connection with the people they love.
*According to BestCrystals.com, septarian nodules were actually
formed between 50 to 70 million years ago…
so that stone was more than a single million years old.
I took the photos in this post.
Such a nice Valentine……and so nicely written.
Thank you Jennifer. I was glad to share some closeness with a stranger. And I’m glad you enjoyed this post.