May 08, 2016

my father's ring

I was always tall for my age as a kid and I'm taller than average as an adult.
I came by it honestly.
My father was 6'4".
He came from a family of tall men. 
I like to think that I inherited his hands as well as his height. 

On my last birthday, I spoke on the phone with my oldest sister.
I told her that I'd looked at my baby book because I didn't know what time I had been born. 
She remembers coming to see me in the hospital.
My mother was kept in for a week. 
Not because she was ill,
but because she already had 6 children and her doctor knew she needed a rest. 

My sister said that I was an average weight
but that I had really long fingers.
That I would someday be a piano player. 
(not destined to be. I'm a terrible piano player, alas.)

My father wasn't a big jewelry person. 
He always wore a watch
and his wedding ring.
My mother was the same, and while she did wear other jewellry, 
 her wedding ring never left her finger.

I remember when she was going in for surgeries, 
they would wrap tape around her finger 
because she refused to remove it. 
This is one of many amazing things 
I learned about my mother
that I'm not sure I ever would have had the chance to know
if she hadn't had cancer.
Go figure.

But this is about my dad.
I'm pretty sure he always wore his ring too.
My parents took their partnership seriously. 

Last year, my family went through the unenviable task 
of dividing up my parents' belongings. 
Whatever was left after a long drawn-out battle.
Because there are 7 of us, we had to essentially draw straws on the more coveted items.

Like my parents' wedding rings. 

I'll get to the point. 

I got the rings.

They, and everything else I got, 
went into the basement when we got home.
Packed in the boxes I received them in.
The divvying up process had been painful.
When I lost my dad, 
it felt like I was losing my mother
for a second time. 
The grief was so familiar
but so different at the same time. 
It all came back after 22 years
in startling clarity. 

A month or so ago, I was in a particular mood. 
I don't know what came over me
but I wanted to look in the boxes. 
I was ready to take a few items out.

The rings are in small white plastic cases.
No boxes, or velvet.
No blue.
Just - sleeves, almost.
Mum's ring fits the first joint of my ring finger on my left hand 
(are everyone's hands different sizes or is it just me?)
And that's as far as it will go.

Dad's is a bit big,
but it fits.
It was dull. 
He stopped wearing it years ago.
Mum died in 1991 and he had two serious relationships 
in the years that followed
so it make sense that he wouldn't consider himself married anymore
(although I'm pretty sure she was always the love of his life. 40 years married, so.)
Fella looked at the inscription on the inside of the band - 10 carat gold.
It will shine up as you wear it, he said.

I was nervous about wearing it.
Should I take it off when I wash my hands?
When I do anything?

And then I thought -

Dad did everything with that ring on.
Nothing I do is going to bring it harm.

And wearing it?
Felt kind of




It's been, as I said, a few weeks.
And I wear it every day.

It makes them feel closer to me.
Even though they are so very far away.
And I think that they may even like
that I'm wearing his ring.

And that it continues on
with the same love
with which it was bought
sixty-four years ago.

1 comment:

Twobees said...

Beautiful. Thank-you