Friday, July 29, 2011

My Second Mother's First Wedding Ring ...

She passed away in 2000. While cleaning out her dresser drawer I found a slim platinum band engraved with the initials "IMT to FK 3/10/46". The sight of it stopped me in my tracks and I sat on the edge of her bed marveling at its simple beauty. Engraved on all of it's surfaces with a delicate herringbone pattern, it sparkled as if it were studded with a million brilliant lights. It looked as if it had never been worn, and indeed it had not in more than 50 years. I knew about this ring but I had not seen it before. I didn't realize she might have kept it all these years. She divorced her first husband within a year of their marriage. She once told me he reneged on his promise to have children with her and she, an only child, could not imagine living a lifetime without children.

My second mother is how I refer to this woman who married my father two years after my birth mother's death. 'Stepmother' would never do justice to this mother who scooped me up at the age of 2-1/2 and called me her very own forever afterwards. She met my father on a blind date, fixed up by mutual friends. She said she fell in love with him after he introduced her to me. I guess we made a complete and compelling package, my dad and me, and we three became an instant family.

I slipped the ring onto my finger that day in her bedroom. It was as light as air and as lovely as my memories of her. I wore the ring for the next ten years, and each time I looked at it I was reminded of her.

Last week, after tossing a stick into the lake for my dog Moses to retrieve, I realized that the ring was gone. It had simply vanished. In that moment of loss I imagined that when I had flung the stick far out into the deep water for the dog, I had cast the ring from my finger as well. I felt an immediate and profound sense that I had lost a physical connection with my mother. My brain told me that it was futile to think I could find the ring under the water, and I sat by the shore thinking fanciful thoughts to comfort myself ... maybe a fish will swallow the ring and one day I will catch the fish and the ring will come back to me; if it is meant to be mine, the ring will return; maybe I am no longer needy of physical reminders of my mother....

My finger was naked for a week and many times each day I missed the physical presence of the ring. I still felt it's ethereal energy circling my finger and I mourned its absence. Many times I told myself that I was experiencing loss and that I must learn some constructive ways to deal with this. After all, it was just a ring. Yes, but also on some level, I was experiencing anew the loss of my mother. Ah, the old familiar feelings of loss and having to let go. I do not handle loss well, it having been a recurring theme throughout my life.

Then yesterday in the bedroom, something small and shiny caught my eye just before I swept it up into the vacuum cleaner. There, wedged in the thick carpet at the side of the bed was the ring!! It had indeed come back to me. I was flushed with relief, delight! I found myself again sitting on the edge of a bed marveling at the appearance of the ring. It must have slipped from my finger while I was tucking in the sheets but I didn't miss it until I whipped that stick into the lake. So strange... but I am comforted by the fact that sometimes what seems lost is merely misplaced. Sometimes loss is temporary, not permanent. Sometimes the sadness of loss turns into the joy of reunion. I think Eckhart Tolle is telling us that there is no loss... "When life takes away the forms that you thought were the foundation of your life, what's left? The life that needs no foundation; that is the foundation. The formless. The essence."


  1. I LOVE this my dear Max!

  2. I often bemoan the fact I must wait for long periods of time to read your posts. This is a wonderful example why it is worth the wait. Who among us has not had a similar experience? How easily and quickly you have brought back our own memories. This is wonderfully written. It is a great story. I was so relieved to read you found the ring.

    Thank you for sharing this. I absolutely loved it. Patsye

  3. A beautiful story from an even more beautiful friend.
    Love, Darkie

  4. Thanks so much for encouraging and loving comments, dear friends...
    Love, Max

  5. What an optimistic, positive and beautifully written piece. I loved following the roller coaster of your feelings and what a treat to have a rare happy ending. Thanks for this.

  6. Just beautiful, Max. The symbolism is powerful. And you keep finding that ring -- what is it trying to tell you, I wonder. Perhaps you've already figured it out (sounds like it)! But maybe there are more messages forthcoming. I'll be watching for any updates on "the ring." Thanks for sharing this lovely story. The ring looks so beautiful ... so simple, elegant, humble. Our culture, as a whole, could learn a great deal from that ring. Take care, happy August. --Daisy

  7. Max, you are still being watched over by both your moms and that is wonderful. What a beautiful and amazing story. Your ring is your symbol to your circle of life shining so brightly. Continue to bask in it's glory. XOXOXO BFFF - Peggy

  8. Just as the wedding ring symbolizes eternity and the circle of life so your compelling tale of discovery, loss, and rediscovery traces the same path.

    A wonderful story with the happiest of endings! Thanks for sharing.

    oxo, Marianne

  9. Sue, Daisy, PeggyD and Marianne. Thanks so much to each of you for reading. Your comments have enriched and deepened my perception of my own story! My understanding of its nuances is still unfolding. Thanks for helping me gain more depth and different insight.