Living a life of relative scarcity and poverty, your faith in others can be tested. The loss of immediate family can shatter that faith instantaneously, with the cracks of your broken heart creeping through your skin and eyes – wrinkles and lifelessness. Attachment to objects becomes either one’s saving grace or their absolute undoing. Some have mementos of a life of struggle, made bearable by their treasures – comfort, safety, security, or happiness drenched upon every square inch of their treasure’s surface.
I’m going to be honest. The thought of attaching emotions to an object is inconceivable for me. And yet – I found something in my life that I knew I could not live without.
Pictured below are the entwined hands of lovers, adorned by a singular, unimpressive ring, white gold in composition – it’s worth immeasurable. My wife is now the owner of the most cherished object in my life. It’s previous owner gone too soon. Ripped from the world that loved her and a family that nearly broke from her absence.
August 6th, 1998. Not only etched in my mind, but also etched on my body as a constant reminder. As a precocious 7-year-old, I played blissfully ignorant in my Grandma’s basement. It was seriously the place to be. She had a Super Nintendo with several games and controllers, she had a fooseball table, she had an air hockey table, a ping-pong table, and I seem to recall one of those mini basketball setups in the corner. A family gathering had sprung up for no particular reason, from what I can recall. Several of my cousins played alongside myself and my 5-year-old brother in the basement. We shouted instructions to those playing the video-games, convinced we knew the game better than they did. We played air hockey and, inevitably, pinched fingers became a constant ailment. We told ghost stories about the bodies that had been buried in the crawlspace of the home.
The door to the basement creaked open and the steps groaned under the weight of an adult clearly shuffling down into the depths of the Kid’s Kingdom. They appeared at the foot of the stairs – it was my Dad. He called to my younger brother and I, had us both come to him and sat us on his lap. The memory of the words fail me, like much of what happened in the months proceeding. I remember vividly the service, the limousine, and the casket. After years of battling a terribly malignant cancer, my Mom passed away on August 6, 1998.
The ring adorning my Wife’s hand is the same my Mom wore, infused with her love, the one thing I needed my entire life, but could only grasp at ghosts and whispers of its’ existence. Twenty years after my Mom’s passing, I recognize my life as a series of events cascading from that day – some for the best, some for the worst. Beyond a doubt, though, the best thing that ever happened to me was finding the love of a wonderful woman. To make matters more interesting, until I was 19, I never knew about the existence of my Mom’s ring. I moved far from my family at 19, and one last night together with my father led to reminiscing and dreaming. He abruptly blurted out that he had my Mom’s wedding ring and would be happy to give it to me once I found the right woman who deserved to wear it. That night was the first time I had heard about the existence of this relic of love. Four years later I was able to slip that relic onto my wife’s finger in front of an audience of loving friends and family, it’s purpose found again in the love of it’s original owner’s son and his wife.
So you see, the ring is beautiful for all it’s metaphorical purposes, but the thing most beloved to me in this scenario is the love of a wonderful woman. The cure to my rare disease. Funny thing is, the day my Dad met my wife, he told me that she reminded him of my Mom.