Stockton woman helps strangers cope with loss of loved ones through painted rocks

There's a trend growing across the country right now where people paint rocks to hide -- for others to find. But in Stockton, one woman says she never expected the game to get so big.

A woman in Stockton is bringing comfort to many people through the portraits she paints on rocks. 

“It wasn't something I originally intended to do, it just kind of sort of happened," Elizabeth Gomez said.

Painting and hiding rocks is part of a nationwide trend to spread kindness. 

Gomez tells ABC10 that after finding a painted rock at a park over the summer, she decided to paint one of singer Selena, which she posted on the Stockton Rocks Facebook group. 

After her Selena rock was found and became an unexpected hit, Gomez started responding to requests from strangers asking for custom made rocks with portraits of their departed loved ones.

"It's not just a painted rock, it's someone that they love, that they can't see anymore, and there’s something different about it being on a rock rather than it being on a picture or on the walls. I don’t know, I can’t explain it,” Gomez said.

Each rock takes her anywhere between four to six hours to paint. Since she began painting in August, she’s completed 24 rocks, and currently has over 200 messages on Facebook from strangers requesting a portrait.

“Five hours is a long time to sit down and paint," she said, "but five hours is going to turn into something special that someone is going to have forever.”

Painting has become more than a hobby for the full-time working mother of three. It's turned into a project with a lot of sentimental value.

On Saturday, Gomez was painting a rock for a teenage boy who asked if she could paint his father that he vaguely remembers because he passed away when he was little.

"A rock doesn't bring that person back, but there is something that it does give back to them. Often when I hand them the rock, I feel like I'm handing them a piece of their heart that they've lost."

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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