I’ve always said that everyone has a story to tell. Whether it’s a rags to riches story, heartache and disappointment, or truly inspiring. This story is a combination of inspiration, love, sadness and faith. Who would have thought that an afternoon of geocaching would have brought on such feelings and emotions.
Let me first say that I am not from this area – I live more than 100 miles away. It was a chance trip to this area that had my wife and I geocaching in this cemetery. This particular cemetery has two caches residing in it. One of the caches provided information about a particular gravestone that I’ll talk about in another posting at a later date. I don’t want to lessen the feelings and emotions of the other find in this same cemetery, in the story that follows…
The cache itself was a very interesting and well thought out placement. I won’t ruin the hunt for others with the details, but what I felt was the important thing about this cache, is it’s proximity to another feature in this cemetery. You can’t help but notice this headstone – somewhat unique in it’s shape, but more importantly, the images that have been etched on the surface. I was immediately drawn to it. This monument was a testament to a young man and the obvious love of his parents.
I first thought the shape was that of a tear … sadness at losing a child. As a parent, it is my ultimate worst fear. I can’t imagine the pain and devastation of losing a child – regardless of their age. Something you hold so dear and precious is taken away from you. And while losing a huge part of your heart, we are reminded to hold fast to our faith – that God will see us through. As strong as my faith is in God, I know my faith would surely be tested … but in the end, I would leave it all in His hands. I guess that all comes from being raised Catholic and knowing the importance of faith.
The images on this headstone are that of a young man, taken at different ages of his life. The first images begin as a young boy at the beginning of his life – full of promise and innocence. They continue in a clockwise progression as he ages, but the images end all too soon at age 15. No longer with us, his gravestone is a tribute of his life and those he has touched.
As I have said since I started geocaching… in my opinion, it’s not about the number of finds, but rather, about the experiences and time spent with others that matter. This is one find that I doubt I’ll ever forget. After finding the cache and reading the cache description, I was so moved by this memorial to this young man, that I had to follow up on the story.
The next day, I took time out to follow the link that was provided in the cache description (GC2D18Z). Probably one of the most inspiring and heart wrenching stories I have read, is this young man’s incredible battle with cancer as told by his mother. A very emotional and moving story that left me having to stop at various times to deal with the tears. I get emotional at times – I’m never embarrassed by it. When something touches me, I can’t help but express it.
The owner of the cache is the step-father of this brave young man. In the cache description, he includes an image of this incredible headstone along with the following message, “Those of you that wonder why his headstone says “Dude, I’m alright”. His favorite saying was DUDE!!!! and when he had procedures in the hospital, he would always say he was alright. A lot of times he would put the phrases together. So we decided to have a couple of his sayings on his headstone. If you would like to learn more on his story, you can visit http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jessedoseck or click here to be taken to that page. Read the blog there for the majority of his fight with acute lymphblastic leukemia.”
After reading Jesse’s story, I now see that the shape of the headstone is not like a tear, but more like a flame… burning bright and strong. A testament to the strength of a family’s love … an inspirational young man, and family.
I have fought the good fight,
I have completed the race,
I have kept my faith…