Letting go at Cruz de Ferro
The Cruz de Ferro (Iron Cross) is a five feet high wooden pole with an iron cross mounted at the top. There are many stories surrounding the original reason for this cross and it is said that it was first erected in the early eleventh century. Whatever the original purpose of this cross, it has now become custom for pilgrims to leave a stone, that they carried with them from their place of origin, at the cross. The idea is to represent your journey by throwing your stone over your shoulder with your back facing the cross.
From the beginning this cross played a vital role in my journey to Santiago. This cross, for me personally, represents the important milestone I had to reach, to leave a piece of me behind, before I can finally conclude my journey to Santiago de Compostela. For me, carrying this stone represents the burden I had to carry with me all this way and finally being able to let it go at the cross. I leave the cross with a load lifted off my shoulders.
My initial idea was to only carry my own stone, but when my father passed I decided that I would carry a stone for each of my family members as they are sharing in carrying this pain. I know that it will still take a long time to heal and that things will never be the same, however these stones represent the hope for my entire family to be able to carry on and find their joy in life again. I celebrate life not because I have forgotten, on the contrary, I celebrate life because I remember. I also cannot leave my stone with my back facing the cross as the cross is the only reason why there is still hope.