99: Thanks, Mom

99: Thanks, Mom

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and the Unexplainable

Thanks, Mom

Death ends a life, not a relationship.

~Jack Lemmon

One Sunday afternoon during a visit at my parents’ house, my mother led me into her bedroom. “Suzanne, I have something I want to give you.” She pulled open her top dresser drawer, lifted out a small box, and handed it to me.

“What is this, Mom?” I asked and tugged at the lid. The interior, lined by royal-blue velvet, held a gold wedding band. A continuous leaf pattern had been etched on the surface. I glanced at her and smiled. “Really?”

“This ring belonged to your grandmother, given to her by Grandpa in honor of their 50th anniversary. She bequeathed it to me when she passed away. Try it on and see if it fits.”

“But, Mom, don’t you want to wear it? There’s no hurry to give it to me.”

“I want to be sure you have this. I made a promise to my mother to pass it down to you.”

I slipped off my diamond wedding ring and slid on the shiny band. It fit my finger perfectly. Butterflies fluttered inside my chest as I admired the new piece of jewelry. My thoughts couldn’t make sense of the gift, but it held a very special meaning for me. The family connection brought tears to my eyes.

“It does fit me well,” I said and smiled.

“The ring’s too tight on me. I’m so glad you’re able to wear it in her memory. Take a look inside. He had their initials engraved in there, too.”

I slid it off, squinted and saw the tiny letters inscribed in the gold.

“How unique. Thank you very much, Mom.” We hugged.

Three months later, we buried my mother at age sixty-eight. She had found out she had pancreatic cancer in May, and there was nothing the doctors could do. At her funeral, I reminisced about the day she gave me that ring. She had already known her fate. She was a brave soul.

Since the moment I’d put on that ring, I’d never taken it off. It meant so much to me, and I now wore it in memory of my mother and grandmother.

A year later, I decided to color my gray hair. I had to remove the ring to put on the rubber gloves. That next morning, I couldn’t find my precious ring anywhere. I retraced my steps. Had I set it on the bathroom sink or tossed it on my dresser? I searched each place thoroughly. I couldn’t find it.

I berated myself. That ring stood for so much. How could I have been so careless?

Six months later, I still hadn’t found Grandma’s wedding band. How could it have just disappeared? I vowed to keep looking.

One night at 2:00 a.m., when I was sound asleep, I heard my mother’s voice in a dream. She said, “Suzanne, move the dresser.” My eyes opened wide, and I bolted to a sitting position. I’d know her voice anywhere. Chills traveled through me. I searched the corners of my dark bedroom. What had just happened? Was it really her?

Nothing was amiss. My husband snored away on his side of our king-size bed. I dropped back to my pillow. First thing tomorrow, I’d check the floor beneath the triple dresser.

After morning coffee, I borrowed a wooden yardstick from my husband’s tool rack. I squeezed my body into a tight corner beside my dresser and stared. Total blackness greeted me. I rose and grabbed a flashlight, returned and peered in again. In the illuminated area, I saw a glint of something metal. I stood and crammed that yardstick in as far as I could. Then I swept the carpet toward me. Dust bunnies came out. No ring.

I swiped again and dragged out a lost earring — one of a pair that had recently been misplaced when I was in a hurry to insert it. Was that what she meant? I sighed. Thinking positive, I gave it one more try and raked the floor even harder. A gold item flashed as it rolled by. My heart did flip-flops. I knelt and scooped it up.

My grandmother’s ring.

I’d found it. Immediately, I slipped the band back on. Joy flowed through me. I glanced up to where my mother resides now. And after she spoke to me in that dream, I know she watches over me. Thanks, Mom.

~Suzanne Baginskie

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