It’s OK. It is a remarkable object.
And it was, as some things are, the embodiment of an idea, not an object with sentimental value, not irreplaceable. And I am not hurting here; I will probably get another one from the same company and put it in its place, and if I have to do that every year, well, that’s fine. And you were right to think that he won’t mind. His days of minding are behind him. You were wrong to think that no one would know, though.
I know why you did it. It’s not far from the mall, you guys hang out there a lot, and sometimes a cemetery is a cool place to go to tell spooky stories with friends, or just to go be alone and brood. You didn’t take it because it was beautiful or expensive, but because you could see that it was on the grave of someone just like you, a person your age. But unlike you, he does not think about death, or dye his hair black, or listen to spooky music. He actually is dead, you have a piece of that now, can show it to your friends, and when you are alone can gaze into it and wonder, and that is cool. So I forgive you.
But I will make a deal with you. I want you to see him, not as a symbol of your own emotions, but as a person in his own right. I want you to put a name to a face. Because though you didn’t know this (it’s not on the stone), his deathday is coming up next week, and that’s a good time to take a moment to get to know him. Take a look at his video. Maybe this will help you learn: no one is merely a symbol in someone’s drama, not even their own. I don’t think he understood that, but maybe you will.