All of these agates were tumbled and polished by our good friend Paul Bulen, better known as Paulie to us. Brutally murdered this past January 2014, he had given a number of stones to Gretchen and I. The night before his funeral we went through her collection and chose those pictured. My mission, to use the stone as Paul had tumbled it and create a memorial piece for each of his brothers, his sister, nieces and nephews.
It was very difficult for me to even get started. I found myself refusing to unwrap the stones so carefully wrapped and marked for Paul’s family. Unwrapping Paul’s stones would bring everything flooding back to the surface. I knew I would have to force myself to open each little bag, one by one. I knew each one would bring back memories of Paul and very teary eyes. When I heard there was going to be a July 4th party and all of the Bulen family was planning to come, I simply had to start. It was important for me to pass out a memorial stone for each family member that day.
After I unveiled the first agate, the floodgates opened. Then the second agate, third…and choking back the tears it became so bad I couldn’t see. Determined, I finally had all Paul’s stones laid out and began prepping my wires for each. Once I started actually wrapping them, some came easily. It was like they were meant to be. Then, with sore fingers I started a unique shape and wasn’t happy. At all. I cut it apart and started again, and again. The tears came flooding back and I yelled at Paulie “gimme a break!” I persevered and finally finished after my husband convinced me I was my own biggest critic. I didn’t do that agate a fourth time.
It was an emotional day on the 4th of July when we passed out the memorial stones to everyone there. They were so appreciative it brought me to tears – truth be told I was literally sobbing and am choked up as I write this. We turned Paul Bulen into a rock hound and he had a great eye for stones. Thank you Paulie for tumbling some of mine for me years back — I miss your hugs, your free spirit and most of all I miss you.
I’m not sure who received each memorial stone, but I hope that all of you wear them in good health. My love to all of you….. In Memory of Paulie – his Spirit lives on.