My parent’s home was broken into many years ago and my Mother’s jewelry was stolen. She was devastated, sick to her stomach that someone would break into her home and take from her what she valued. She had beautiful jewelry given to her by my Dad over the many years of their marriage. None of it was insured, nothing was recovered and all those beautiful things were gone forever. The only jewelry of any real value she had left was what she was wearing that night.
Of all the jewelry that was stolen two pieces hurt more than anything else. Ironically the two things that mattered the most to her were the least valuable, monetarily. Her mother’s simple gold wedding band was taken and a gold medal my Dad won at Madison Square Gardens. They were not ‘worth’ much and yet meant more to her than most of the more valuable things taken.
I have one of my mother’s rings that she was wearing the night her home was robbed. We had talked about it many years before when she asked my sisters and me what we wanted of her jewelry when she died. I knew I wanted this ring because of how much it meant to her and clearly remember when my father gave it to her. She was floored and flooded with emotion and never took it off after that Christmas morning.
The ring has felt too big for me, too expensive so I have not worn it much at all in the years since she died. I guess I didn’t feel worthy of wearing the ring, until recently. I put it on a few weeks ago and have not taken it off and don’t intend to. It is bringing me closer to my Mom and strangely, to myself. When I look at my hand I am filled with memories of meaningful moments we shared throughout my younger life. We formed a bond through several extended road trips where we both, in many ways discovered our selves, together.
The values I hold most important and are my greatest strengths my Mom instilled in me. She had a deep and real love of nature and simply being in the natural world. At her essence she was simple and loved simple things. The tenderness and vulnerability that lies within others, my Mom held with care knowing they may have burdens she was unaware of. She gave people the benefit of the doubt and believed in the inherent goodness in the world. She was kind and valued caring for and being truly loved by others. And my Mom loved to have fun and be spontaneous, often getting lost and discovering new places and ways of being. These are the memories and values that come to me now as I see her ring on my hand.
I wear her ring on my right hand which is distorted from arthritis, like her hands were, and a broken finger that is permanently crooked. I have been embarrassed by my hands and fingers because of the way they look, again, until recently. Now I value what my hands have been able to touch and hold onto to grow from living in the world as a daughter, sister, mother, wife, friend, student, colleague, therapist and teacher. I have held onto what is important for me and am now able to push away what I don’t need anymore. The baggage I carry around that keeps me from living simply in alignment with my true values is too much to carry. The load is too heavy, After six decades of living I am learning to let go of what I don’t need or value and hold onto what really matters. My pack is getting lighter by being true to what is most important. As I look ahead I see a path filled with light, which leads me to wonder, what is to come?