A stone’s throw from tragedy and hope

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – Something as old as the planet is combining with social media and making an interesting impact.

If you find one of these creations, now you’ll know the story behind it. Some might say it’s just a stone, but it carries a rock-hard message about loss and hope. It all starts with one stone, painted in memory of two loved ones, and then left on a beach.

“We went back a couple of days later and it was gone. So we wondered who found it,” Heather Perreault tells us.

They painted more, adding a Facebook invitation on the back. And soon they were hearing from the strangers who picked up their creations.

There was a lady who said that she recently lost somebody and that when she found it she thought it was them,” Heather’s daughter Eryka said. “And it really warmed my heart because I know exactly the feeling that she had.”

Among the colorful notes: Take a chance. Live in this moment.

“One of my favorites,” Heather said. “Is memories take us back, and dreams take us ahead.”

In the weeks before they started painting the stones, Heather lost a good friend to a sudden tragedy. Four months later her daughter lost her best friend to suicide.

“He could light up a room just with his smile. If you were having a bad day he would do anything to make it better,” said Eryka.

So now, that single stone left on a beach has rolled into hundreds, handed to friends who then drop them around the world – from Ireland to Guam, from California to back here in Rhode Island.

“It’s like my way of saying he’s still here,” Eryka added. “And even though I’m mad that he’s gone I know he can still see it. So every time I place one I wonder what his face is like.”

“I like to say the stone finds you. So if they find a stone and it says you are loved, maybe that’s what they needed to hear that day,” her mom said. “It’s amazing to think that one little word on one little rock can mean so much to somebody.”

So far, they’ve heard back from more than 600 people around the world.

Send story ideas to Walt at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow us on Twitter: @StreetStories12 and @wbuteau.

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