When I heard or saw the expression, “set in stone,” I thought of a serious contract or a permanent date. I never thought about the origin of the term. “Set in stone,” something that is unchangeable, was simply an expression; I didn’t think the expression applied to me.

Today I learned that “set in stone” has a real meaning.

We placed the headstone on my husband’s grave today.* We had certain words engraved on the stone that describe who is was. There is now a real stone, with specific words, that describe my husband. “Set in stone” is real. I can’t apply “white-out” and erase the words. I can’t take a pen, and edit the words on the stone to say, “He’s still alive…go to this address.” I can’t press the “backspace” or “delete” keys to change the language.

The headstone and it’s words are permanent. It’s stark. It’s painful. Yet, it’s comforting. There is now a marker that tells us where his physical presence is.

May Herschel’s memory be for a blessing. May we emulate his humility so that we, too, are loved by all.

*American date – May 7, 2009; Hebrew date – 23 Iyar 5770

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