Sunday, January 31, 2010


I'm staring at a ring, spinning it around my finger, right now. It's mine, but it wasn't always. It belonged to my Grandma Doll. It's a ring that conjures up all kinds of thoughts for me. All kinds of memories. It's a beautiful piece, a remnant of a time when details and intricacy were far more cherished than the refined, clean lines of our times. Simply put, it's magnificent. It's not the size of the diamond. It's not the brilliance of the cut. It's not the purity of the metals used. There is something more to this ring. Something special.

It was given to her many years ago, I believe for an anniversary. Although, knowing my grandfather and his propensity for bringing home jewelry spontaneously on any average day, I can't be certain. It was to be an upgrade from her original wedding band, a modest engraved white gold ring. She wore it, of course, but kept her wedding band on too.

It was my grandmother's ring, and she gave it to me. More correctly, she gave it to us. To Tom and I. We were young college students, in love but without vast financial resources. She gave this set to us in case we didn't get together enough extra money to buy new rings. Tom was touched greatly by the gesture, but I think in some ways it strengthened his resolve to buy me a ring. And he did.

He bought me a modest wedding band set before we got married, and my grandmother's ring moved to my right hand. And for many years it stayed there. It stayed there until I received another ring. A beautiful claddaugh ring, something that I had always wanted. Tom got me one for my birthday a few years ago. And the ring, my grandmother's ring, was tucked safely into a jewelry box. The box that rests next to a clock. That clock is a story for another day.

I wear it occasionally. I usually wear it for special occasions. I have worn it for the Baptisms of all my children, and at the First Communion of my oldest child. On those days, I also wore a necklace. A necklace, which you may have guessed, is also a story for another day.

I am wearing my grandma's ring today. I am wearing it because the ring I usually wear needs to be repaired. My upgraded wedding set needs to be taken in. One of the prongs is loose on the center diamond, and until I can have it fixed, I can't wear it. I wore my original wedding ring for a while, but it gets too tight. One of the unfortunate side effects of the unfortunate fact that I now have high blood pressure (thanks genetics!) is that my hands swell. When my grandma's ring was moved to my right hand, I had to have it re sized, since my right hand is bigger. And it's for that reason that the ring now fits on my left. And until I can get my ring repaired, I will wear it.

Every time I look at my hands, I see it. I don't know about the rest of you, but I often find myself looking at my rings. And every time I look at this particular ring, I think about her. About my Pap. About the beauty not just of this ring, but also the beauty of their love. It was unwavering and complete, and it lasted, I can say with absolute certainly, long past the day he gave her this ring. Until death do you part, the promise made to each other. For them though, death did not part. A large piece of her went with him that day, maybe too large. She never really lived again after he was gone, I don't think. It wasn't until she passed too that they were brought back together, complete again.

Someday this ring, along with other pieces of her jewelry, will be passed down to my daughters. I will share my memories with them. I will tell them the stories. I will hope that they can find beauty in what she loved. And see the value, not in the item, but in what it means.

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