Wednesday, June 02, 2010
When I was 15 my mother gave to me my grandmother's engagement ring. She had had it for some years. My grandmother had severe arthritis that had really taken its toll on her beautiful hands. I don't say beautiful because they were the kind of beautiful you are thinking. They were beautiful because of how she used them. I love and cherish this ring for so many reasons. The first of which is the story she told of her wedding day. My grandfather had to work that day, and it was stormy day. She waited patiently for him down town at the courthouse. It was the second marriage for them both, my grandmother's first husband had died in World War Two and shortly after he died, she miscarried their son, she had already lost a little girl at birth. She told me of how many times she must have turned that ring around her finger hoping that he was just late due to the weather, that he hadn't changed his mind. I think of the hope she held in her heart, of starting over with the man she loved and hoped to build a beautiful life with, as she turned it round her finger. And she said, at last, he stepped through the door, and her heart leapt. And she was off on her adventure to fulfill her dreams. With her beautiful hands she took care of her much loved husband, had a beautiful daughter (my mama) that the doctors told her she would never have, helped raise her two grandchildren. And through the years served her family with her hands by baking delicious meals, I can still see her cleaning the biscuit dough out of her rings when she'd forget and leave them on. I can see her hands holding mine and holding the church hymnal as she she sang. If I look down at this ring, I see the beauty of her life. A little piece of her that I can carry with me. When I look at it, I can hear her singing, feel myslef standing next to her as a child in church, feel her hugs, see her waving goodbye from the screen door and I remember all the long talks we'd have before we fell asleep on the nights I was able to spend with her. I have passed the ring down to my youngest daughter, which was not easy. But see, I love her hands too. I did steal it back for just a few days and am wearing it today. It makes me happy. I miss my grandmother so much sometimes its as though I am that little 13 year old girl standing on the hill at her funeral all over again. But the joy and the beauty she brought to my life. The person I am because of her, outshine the pain of losing her. And today, I am reminded of her love and her inspiration from this precious ring. And I am thankful.