The only thing I had of my mothers when she died was a ring. It was gold, and set with garnets and was given to her by my father as an eternity ring. I wore it occasionally and people would often comment on it, but it wasn’t really my style. I prefer silver and less stones. Although not often publicly affectionate, they loved each other very much and I had lost a special token of that love. What concerned me, what caused me the most remorse, was that I didn’t realise I had lost it for some time, I couldn’t remember the last time I had it or how it could have been lost. I felt that I could not have loved her enough.
She stopped wearing the ring a long time ago; in fact I can’t remember her ever wearing it. It got too small for her finger and I guess she couldn’t afford to have the necessary adjustments made, but it was the only possession I had of hers after she died, the only corporeal object I had to connect me to her, at least that’s what I thought until I discovered her diaries
She began to write a diary following the death of my father. They explored her feelings of loss, guilt, depression and despair. They expressed concern for her children, love for her grandchildren but mostly an overarching, aching, insatiable desire to be with her husband again. 11 years after her death they are still a tough read because they expose a side to my mother that she rarely showed to her family. If the ring represented her earthly body; solid, beautiful and precious, the diaries were surely her soul laid bare.
How I wish she had shared those feelings with me, written so honestly and openly in the pages of her diary. I could have given her comfort, told her that I understood, reassured her that those terrible, difficult and lonely decisions she had to make when Dad was dying were the right decisions.
On reflection, I lost a ring but I discovered something more precious. Writing can be cathartic, can provide immediate release from negativity and darkness, but sharing your feelings with those who love you, this is how to heal.