The loss of Keagan made Belle Isle feel like she had lost her purpose.
“I fell into a deep depression,” she said.
But she says after some time, a friend convinced her to go on a walk, and that’s where she found something she says was a sign.
On Thursday, Sieren, King, and King’s kids met face to face to tell their story to Local 4 News, and have their own small rock painting party with Belle Isle.
“I was so excited to meet the family and actually hug them today,” said Sieren.
“We are so blessed to be able to meet the person that we were able to pass on the rock to,” said King.
Here in the Quad Citians, Moline Alderman at Large, Sonia Berg, said when she found one in Rock Island, it was a teachable moment for her 6-year-old grandson.
“My grandson was with me and he ended up wanting to hide it and so we went down to Orange Leaf and hid it down there,” said Berg. “We explained to him about mental illness…and he said ‘no I want to hide it to have the right person find it too.'”
Berg says since finding the initial rock, she now tries to take some with her when she travels to leave behind wherever she goes. On Thursday Berg said she had just received a message the night before from a woman who found a rock left behind by Berg’s husband in Colorado. She told Berg she was thankful she found it, and how much she needed it.
At the center of all this are Belle Isle and her son, Keagan, hoping to remind people of what matters most, one stone at a time.
“You’re loved. That there’s hope, tomorrow is better, just keep on,” said Belle Isle. “Any little thing can help somebody, you don’t know. Just be kind.”
Overnight, Local 4 News received numerous messages from people who say the rocks left a lasting impact. Here are a few of those responses:
“I found one of Keagan’s rocks a few hours after having to bury my dad to unfortunately, suicide. What are the chances of that? I needed that rock that day and still have it till this day. Finding that rock meant the world to me that day! What shes does with these rocks touches people lives in so many ways.” – Jessica
“What an inspiration it was to find one of these rocks in Nebraska. I work with at risk juveniles in a treatment facility. And thought to myself ‘wow one more person out trying to help change the world.’ It made my day. After a hard nine days at work, to see the painted rock…just keep swimming.” –