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Meadowlark Hospice

Dawn's Notes

A Diamond in the Rough - August 2017
by Dawn Phelps, RN/LMSW

The year was 2009, but my memory of staring down into a massive crater with my husband Tom while in Arizona still sticks vividly in my mind eight years later.  Together we gazed down into a gigantic, deep, bowl-shaped hole which was created thousands of years ago. 
The crater is located near Flagstaff, Arizona, a large depression 570 feet deep and 4,100 feet across.  It is believed that a meteor, weighing about 300,000 tons, smacked into the earth at 26,800 miles per hour.  Most of the meteor probably disintegrated on impact due to the force and heat, but the meteor left behind iron-rock debris around the impact site.   

The crater was first discovered by American settlers in the 19th century.  In 1891, the chief geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey hypothesized the crater was formed by a volcano, believable at the time since there is a volcanic field only 40 miles away.  In 1903, a mining engineer named Daniel Barringer came up with a new theory.  He believed the massive hole was created by the impact of a large meteor, and his theory was later accepted by researchers. 

When the meteor gouged out the massive hole at Meteor Crater, fragments of iron-rock debris were strewn about the area, and some of the rocks had tiny diamonds embedded in them.  But have you ever wondered how diamonds are formed?

 It takes carbon, extreme heat, and pressure as found in the core of the earth at about 80-100 mile depths.  Some diamonds form more quickly than others, and most are produced by volcanic activity which occurs many miles down in the earth.

As pressure from the volcano builds, a channel, referred to as a “pipe,” creates an opening from deep in the earth that moves debris and diamonds upward toward the surface.  In their raw form, diamonds are usually dirty and dull in appearance, in need of proper cutting and shining to bring out their brilliance—a diamond in the rough.

Other times diamonds are formed when meteors plummet to earth from outer space, creating heat and pressure as they slam into earth.  As with volcanos, falling meteors leave behind destruction, debris, and sometimes treasures—treasures that must be dug out of the earth or chipped out of rock.  

In the early 1900s, some locals, including diamond prospectors, believed the meteor may have also left larger diamonds.  One prospector named Cannon, followed by his burro, roamed the meteor-strewn area in Arizona for thirty years.  He was closed-mouth about his business.  Maybe he found diamonds; maybe he only hoped to.  He went into town about three times a year for supplies, and there were rumors he carried large sums of money.      

Cannon was last seen in 1917 when he was almost eighty.  Then in 1928, a skeleton was discovered in a gravel pit.  There were 2 bullet holes in the skull, and there was a piece of paper with Cannon’s name on it in the pocket of the clothes.  The coroner identified the dead man as Cannon, and many believed he was killed for his diamonds, a commodity that is sought for, worked for, and some are willing to rob or kill for. 

Some diamonds are of great value, worth millions of dollars.  They are one of the hardest substances on earth.  They are beautiful.  They, like people, come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors—clear, blue, green, red, brown, or yellow.  Newly discovered raw diamonds can be properly cut and shined, increasing their beauty, brilliance and value.      

People, like diamonds, are not born in our polished form.  Beginning when we are children, life teaches us lessons, sometimes harsh lessons, and our rough edges are chipped away.  After the death of someone we love, we go through dark tumultuous times of extreme pressure and sadness that take us into a dark land of sadness.   

 In spite of our hurts, we all have untapped potential or talent to offer the world, so be patient with yourself as your heart heals.  Let your grief experience help shape your life.  You are a unique person of great worth; you are more valuable than any diamond!  Maybe you, like I, are just a diamond in the rough.  So don’t be afraid to let life polish you so you can sparkle again.

"A jewel unless polished will not sparkle.” - A Japanese saying

Call about the next "Living Life after Loss" Group at:
Meadowlark Hospice 709 Liberty Clay Center, Kansas
(785) 632-2225
Dawn Phelps, RN/LMSW, Group Facilitator