Roughly three years ago I trekked back to Canada in order to get my immigration and paperwork for marrying Shawn, settled. When I was there my mother brought out a little leather bound jewelry box that had seen the years.
When she opened it, two delicate bands were within–one a wedding band with chains, and one an engagement ring with matching chains. She told me that they were the original rings my father proposed to her with and that she wanted me to have them.
They were too small for my fingers then. So my father brought them to a friend who was a jeweler to have them made larger and the bands made wider (because I told my parents of my fear of breaking them.) The jeweler accidentally fused the two rings together–but the mistake worked out well in the end; as I thought having the two of them melded together would mean less chances of me losing them and them being stronger.
Earlier last year, while my mother was alive–I knocked my hand against my own desk. Hard. Part of the piece of gold chain supporting my mother’s diamond broke off, forever lost, while the other cracked. I was devastated but my father and mother told me not to worry and send the ring back. They’d fix it, they said, and send it back to me. So with great faith in the postal system–and great trepidation–I did just that. Luckily it arrived safe and sound in Canada.
Today it arrived back to me.
Having the ring in my hands is…It reflects well, I think, of myself. Of my mother. My father, my family. Something that is a little broken and repaired–something that is cherished anyway and loved, despite the uneven parts or whether it is dull or shines.
I look at it and I see her instead. I wonder if she knew back then, that was the last time I would see her in person and so I wonder if she’ll understand how clearly the memory of her handing it over to me will remain.
She had her chair in front of a bright window. One of those over-stuffed, comfortable lazy boys with a blue, pink and white flannel blanket at hand to cover her legs should she ever need to nap. She’d curled her hair in the morning and put on mascara (though why she insisted on putting mascara on with me visiting, despite the years I’ve seen her without I’ll never know.) She had one leg tucked under the other and a foot–whose toes were covered in her favorite plain, white socks–was pushing the chair to rock every once in a while. She stopped rocking to lean to the side and pick something up and then to lean forward and hand me a little brown leather box trimmed with thin lines of gold.
In the box was this ring glimmering faintly against a bed of crushed red velvet. There was dust on the box and dust inside. Thick and grey, the sort that settled on objects that have been kept or untouched for a very long time.
My mother watched me with a small smile as I opened it, but her eyes were sharp and blue as august afternoons as they slit with pleasure. I often wonder if she saw the same reaction on my face–the delight and wonder at such a pretty thing–that she may have saw when my father first gave it to her.
It’s mine now.
But I can’t help but think she was more so and I would trade a thousand heirloom rings just to see her one more time and say I love you.