GANDER, NL – Just over a year after his death, Lisa Butler and her family received a message her brother Barry Cole. That message came in the form of a rock.
When he was alive, Cole created a Facebook page called “NL Rocks,” where he would post pictures of the products of his rock painting hobby.
Cole passed away on Nov. 26, 2016, after a very short battle with brain cancer.
His family believes that sometime between June and early September that year, Cole placed a painted rock at an outdoor location somewhere in Newfoundland for someone to find
The rock, with writing on one side, read “If found post pic NL Rock Facebook.”
On Dec. 4, 2017, someone did just that.
Butler received a Facebook message with a picture of the rock.
And where was the rock found?
“It's incredible,” Butler said. “My mom, sister and other people we shared this with all got the chills.
“When I saw the picture and my brother’s handwriting, I was shocked. I tried to put the pieces together as to how this could have happened and the only thing that makes sense is that in the three months my brother started his page and before he became ill, he placed that rock somewhere in Newfoundland.
“Between that time and when I heard from the lady who informed me his rock was found, the rock took an overseas trip.”
Butler has been in correspondence with the woman from Scotland, who is now aware of the story of that rock.
The mystery is - how did the rock make its way from Newfoundland to the UK?
There were no prior postings to the NL Rocks page that Butler can see, so her and her family are at a loss.
“Of course, we speculate a tourist took it there, but not necessarily. And we don't know if it made several different stops before ending up in Scotland – we are really curious,” she said.
Wherever her brother placed this rock, he ensured it was visible. It has a a drawing of a large eye on one side.
There may be others.
“Now whenever I walk my dog, I'm looking around – I've even gone to the Silent Witness (site) and Little Harbour to see if there are more rocks like this, as I suspect these are two possible places he could have placed it,” said Butler.
She said she had debated whether or not to take down her brother’s Facebook page, “but something was telling me to hold on – now I know why.
“Hopefully someone will come forward with information to help us figure out the missing link.”
She said they will eventually follow her brother’s instructions to hide the rock again once found.
“We have requested it is re-hidden in Scotland – that is what my brother would have wanted.”
Butler said her brother would also be curious about where his rock had been.
“I think if Barry were still alive today he would be equally perplexed that his rock made it across the Atlantic, but, like us, he would think it was a spectacular thing to have happen.”
The family considers the event to be “a sign his spirit is living on.
“We miss him every day and are proud of him for being unique and creative. We hope the special way he has touched those who know this story will have a positive impact on others.”