I struggle with falling into the trap, that my belongings are a representation of my worth. There are some "things" that I am proud of myself for acquiring, but I have learned that even when I am stripped of all my possessions, that I am left with myself. As a person, I have many valuable characteristics. The "things" that I value in myself most, are not the things you can see, but rather feelings and memories, and the ability to share them.
I reject the notion that I am defined by my material possessions. There was a time when that was not the case. There was a time when I was empty on the inside, and the only way I knew how to express myself was through belongings, because they were all I had. I had some things that I had become seriously attached to. One of them was my grandma's wedding ring. Somehow in my mind, I had equated that ring with the whole value of my grandmother. Without having her alive, I believed having her ring was a close second. It wasn't until I pawned her ring, and the pawn shop made a mistake in the paperwork, and mistakenly sold her ring, that I started to become aware that there was more than the material things.
I didn't realize it be choice. I realized it out of necessity, because I had to come to terms with her ring being gone. To be honest, it was almost as painful as actually losing her. Reflecting on that now, I feel sad for the old me. As I sat on the sidewalk in front of the pawnshop and cried, I started remembering all of the times that ring had been significant.
I imagined my grandparent's wedding day. I thought of my grandma's smile. Whenever she got compliment's on it, she would always blush. I remembered being a little girl and begging her to let me wear it and she would tell me it was too big for me and she didn't want to lose it, but she would let me play with it on her finger. I would twist it around and run my fingers across the beautiful diamonds, and imagine my wedding day.
I remembered sitting at her bedside, all the different times we went to see her at the hospital, her ring absent because she was recovering from open heart surgery. I would hold her hand and run my fingers over the spot where it belonged. It was obvious by the skin that had not been touched by the sun. The only time she took it off was for surgery.
I remembered the last time I sat by her bedside, as she was hooked up to so many machine's, struggling to survive following a stroke. She hadn't had surgery and her ring was still on her finger. That was the last time I saw her alive. I remember going up to her casket to say my final goodbye's. My uncle Joe from my grandpa's side walked with me and he helped me lift her cold and stiff hand to remove the rosary we had selected just a week earlier, and her ring.
I also remember the day of my wedding. I was 16 years old, and all of the tension about my young marriage had dissipated. My Grandpa had embraced the idea he once rejected, and he gave me a little yellow envelope. With his cute little sheepish grandpa smile, he urged me to open it. Inside, I found my grandma's ring. It was now to be mine.
Over the years, I never could call it "my ring." It was still my grandma's to me. I stared at the asphalt, my face stung from the drying tears. I had a lot of regret for ever pawning the ring in the first place, but I realized that it wasn't the ring that had the most value. It's value was still it's weight in diamond's and platinum, but worth more than any ring in the world, were my memories. I thought about what my grandma would say if she knew I had lost it. I knew she would be more concerned with making me feel better then she would with the ring. The marriage I had used it for had already failed. Maybe it was time for the ring to go make memories for someone else, but it didn't take my memories with it.
|“Like the wind crying endlessly through the universe, Time carries away the names and the deeds of conquerors and commoners alike. And all that we are, all that remains, is in the memories of those who cared we came this way for a brief moment.” ~ Harlan Ellison|