Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Mother's Diamond Ring

One of the iconic visions I have of my Mother is the diamond ring on her hand. I saw it every day. It was the hand I held. It was the hand that fed me and caressed me. It truly represented her “until death do us part” marriage with my Father

One day, when my Father was failing, my Mother decided I should have her diamond ring. We had just come from the lawyer where she had rewritten her will.

She was feeling vulnerable, old and forgetful. “I don’t want to be one of these ladies who get taken to the hospital in an ambulance and her diamond ring is stolen off of her,” she said. And so, we went to get it reset together. I wanted her to enjoy choosing a setting with me for her beautiful stone. “Never let your diamond out of your sight,” she said, as we stood there, watching the jeweler set it into platinum.

After they were married, she always told it, one day my Father came home with a packet of loose diamonds. Those were the days when life was simpler. My Father’s accountant’s husband was a jeweler on 47th St. in Manhattan. My Mother looked at all the loose diamonds. “I chose the biggest one, of course.” It happened to be just a little over one carat and a very very good quality.

I was surprised, delighted and saddened when my Mother gave me her diamond. It signaled some sort of defeat, or acceptance in her heart, of something that was over. I thought it was tremendously generous of her to give it to me while she was still alive. She wanted to see the transition of the ring and not imagine it as something that would happen after her passing. She also wanted the security of really knowing where it went.

And now, my Mother has passed away, her diamond accompanies me every day. It is a powerful touchstone. Her diamond makes me strong and reminds me who I am, from where I came, and of how loved I was and still am.

I am happily divorced, but I still wear my Mother’s diamond on my left hand. I am too “old” now, to care that some man might think me engaged and be warned away. When has a ring ever stopped the right man?

My diamond gives me hope and strength. It is my Mother’s love on my finger.


Bridget said...

A diamond ring is just an expensive material until it is etched with special memories. When that happens, you know that it has truly become a part of your life. I can feel your heartfelt emotions through these words. Thanks for sharing your wonderful story, Elizabeth. :)

- Bridget Rossi

Melissa Yoder said...

I guess your mother’s passing only represents her undying devotion to your father. It’s far from the feeling of defeat. Your parents’ promise to each other was already fulfilled and it’s about time for you to make your own memory to cherish.