99: My Mother’s Ring

99: My Mother’s Ring

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

My Mother’s Ring

The deepest wishes of the heart find expression in secret prayer.

~George E. Rees

No, it couldn’t be! But it was—my mother’s ring! My head was reeling, my thoughts jumbled. The familiar gold ring glistened and gleamed in my palm, but how? I had lost it two and a half years ago and 1,500 miles away.

My mum had given me the ring in August 2006. After twenty years watching my children grow in Jamaica she had moved back to her “home,” so my son and I had visited her in England. We spent a fabulous three weeks together. At the end of our visit, Mum took the ring off her finger and gave it to me saying it was to remember her by.

I wasn’t surprised by the gesture; my mum loved rings. Her elegant fingers were usually adorned with some jeweler’s delight of gold and precious stones. On my eldest daughter’s twenty-first birthday, my mother gave my daughter her favorite ring, a custom-made emerald and diamond creation. My second daughter was not disappointed either; she received mum’s broad gold and silver Greek filigree designer piece on her twenty-first birthday. So I accepted the band that had decorated mum’s finger for the past twenty years. Twelve small diamonds set in two rows of six across, a thin vertical gold bar separating each set of two. I placed it above my own wedding ring; they looked good together. I would cherish it as much as I cherished our relationship.

Four years later, November 2010, I was visiting my favorite aunt in New Jersey. It was a crisp fall evening. As the family drove to dinner, I rubbed hand lotion on my cold, shriveled fingers and noticed my mum’s ring had slipped off. We searched the car—no ring. Maybe it had fallen off in the house. We searched the bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen, high and low—no ring. I was really upset. Mom and I spoke every day and I looked at the ring often. Hadn’t it had just been on my finger?

May 5, 2011, my mum passed away. Now I really noticed the space on my finger where her ring had been for such a short time. I had been privileged to spend the last eight weeks of mum’s life with her, but hadn’t stayed in England for her funeral. I wanted the comfort of my husband and children, so I made the sad journey back to Jamaica alone and we watched the funeral service via satellite.

Two and a half years after Mum’s passing, I was sitting on the verandah of our beach house in Silver Sands. We had so many fond memories here: Mum making coffee at the crack of dawn and setting her towel on the nearest beach chair, claiming the cabana as our own. Mum making sand castles with my kids. All of us going for walks to collect shells. Mum hiding Easter eggs in the garden, hoping the kids would find them before the ants did. This was where mum was happiest and where she wanted her ashes sprinkled.

I needed to make an effort for my family to have closure. It was difficult to get everyone together these days. My oldest daughter was married and my second daughter didn’t live at home anymore. But we had a big family reunion at Silver Sands that week, so both girls had planned their vacation to be here. My son had just started a new job, but it was his twenty-first birthday and a holiday weekend, so he planned to come after work to reunite with our overseas family for a few days too. I had an important church function, so would leave the reunion to drive into Kingston for the event and then return to Silver Sands. We would eventually have precious family time together.

But as I sat on the verandah watching my friend and her daughter enjoying an early morning swim, I cried. I knew I still wasn’t ready to let Mum go. Nope, I wasn’t ready to sprinkle her ashes yet. Her ashes sat in my cupboard at home in a beautiful wooden box. Her name, Marie Marchand, was engraved on a brass plaque on the top. Saturday evening came and I drove to Kingston. I saw my son for his birthday in the morning before he drove to Silver Sands to be with his dad and sisters for birthday cake. That evening I looked at Mum’s box, but quickly closed my cupboard. Maybe next year at Easter. We always spend Easter together at Silver Sands, maybe then.

I got up early Monday morning, eager get back to Silver Sands, back to my family and my vacation. As I walked through the kitchen to water the orchids before I left home, I bent down to pick up something sparkly from the ground.

No it couldn’t be! But it was—my mother’s ring. My head was reeling, my thoughts jumbled, I had lost it two and a half years ago and 1,500 miles away.

It hadn’t been on the floor when I was ironing my church dress the day before. I had been standing right here, I would have seen it—but here it was—my mother’s ring, the familiar circle glistening and gleaming in my hand. My heart was pounding, my stomach was queasy, I counted them: twelve small diamonds set in two rows of six across, a thin vertical gold bar separating each set of two. I slipped my wedding band off and put my mother’s ring on below it.

Explain it? God is good. He knows the desires of our heart. He is rich in grace and mercy. Other than that, I can’t explain it. So if you find yourself in Silver Sands, Jamaica on Easter 2014, come down the beach at the crack of dawn and meet my family as we sprinkle Mum’s ashes and say our final farewell, and I will show you my mother’s ring.

~Nandi Stewart

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