Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Ring that Matters

One year ago today, on a bright, chilly day in New York, Alix asked me to marry her.  With shaking hands, she awkwardly placed the ring I had picked out onto my left ring finger where it felt so foreign, so heavy, that I couldn't resist holding it in place with my thumb, as if it was going to spontaneously fall off of its own accord.  Now, that ring is tucked in a black box, deep in the recesses of my bedside table drawer, behind the lighter I use for my lavender candle and the piles of prescription bottles that I dole my doses out of each evening before going to sleep.  The ring that I do wear every day is this:


This ring belonged to my father's mother, my grandmother Helen, who died before I was born.  She wore it every day, and when my parents asked the coroner if he'd found it on her body when he came to take her away, he said he hadn't seen it.  Devastated, the family believed that this heirloom was lost forever.  Years later, it was discovered that Helen had passed the ring on to her sister Lizzy before she had died.  Then, as Lizzy ailed and knew her own death was imminent, she gave the ring to her other sister, the last of the three girls still kicking.  My great aunt Marian wore this ring of a dancing lady until the day she died.  My father's cousin Mike gave this ring to me last January, when I went to Aunt Marian's memorial service.  I was speechless.  I couldn't believe that I was being given such a precious, meaningful gift that contained and represented the love, strength, and fortitude that my three ancestors shared.  Those three women lived through wars, through depressions, through difficult marriages, poverty, raising children, moving homes, and a myriad of other hardships that I'll never know.  In spite of it all, they persevered, loving each other and their families until each of them died.  I wear this ring with pride, knowing that the love and strength of each of those amazing women is always at my hands, guiding me and giving me hope when all seems lost.  Keep dancing, I think.  Always, always, always - keep dancing.

5 comments:

Allison the Meep said...

Oh, wow. What a cool story to go with such a pretty ring.

xoxo.

Sarah said...

I'm glad you have something to wear, Cait. When my engagement was broken off, I had to go find something - anything - to fill the empty spot on my left hand. I'm thinking of you.
*hugs*

Holly R said...

Beautiful ring and such a cool story to go with it :)

Keep hanging in there!

Cait said...

Thanks everybody! Wearing it helps remind me of the people who DO love me unconditionally - family.

Amanda said...

You seriously write some of the most inspiring posts, this being one of them. I'm glad you're still going and moving forward.