Friday, January 20, 2012

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Years ago I spent a weekend at a Woman's Retreat with some of the women in my church.  We were each asked to bring an item that was special to us, and to be prepared to tell why it was dear to us.  It could have been anything at all, and looking back on it, I wish I'd taken a photograph or something that could have been replaced.

Instead I took something that was absolutely irreplaceable. It was...a small circle of 14k gold g iven to my mother at my birth by a family friend who owned a jewelry store.  The little 'bangle' bracelet was given to me at some point, I don't remember when Mom gave it to me. I almost wish she hadn't,
for then it would still be somewhere where I could find it.

When my first daughter was born, she wore the bracelet, as did each of her three younger sisters. I think I have photos of all the girls at young ages, wearing it on their chubby little arms. I remember speaking at the table, surrounded by the other ladies, telling how my babies had worn one of my first gifts. I recall saying that, like a plain gold wedding band, the tiny circle of gold reminded me of love ...the love from one  friend to another, the love of a mother for her daughters, and how I hoped that the bracelet would one day be worn by my future grandchildren.

When I was finished speaking, I put the bracelet in the pocket of my slacks....or that's the way I remember it now.  When I went back to the room, I couldn't find the bracelet....anywhere.  The women helped me search and retrace my steps from the meeting room, through the driveway, back to the room. We looked for as long as time allowed, and finally it was time for us to leave.

With a heavy heart, I returned home without what I'd dreamed would be an heirloom. All these years later, a weight grabs my chest when I remember that weekend. My bracelet is gone...but not forgotten, but the love of a friend, the love of a mother, and the love of this grandmother for her young granddaughters remains.