Mom has lost a little weight this winter, her hands are not quite as swollen as they were in December. I have not yet called the jeweler to cut her precious ring off her finger. The ring is still stuck, behind her arthritic knuckles, but it's not as tight as it had been.
When I took my grandmother's wedding ring off my Mother's finger in October, and brought it home, I also took home all her other rings. She had kept her jewelry in a plastic bag in the back corner of her nightstand. There was her wedding band, college and high school rings, and her one fancy topaz ring. I had left them with her, in her apartment at the assisted living residence, because she would take them out often, put them on, look at then, and it made her happy. I didn't want to take them away from her. But it was clear to me this winter, that she no longer knew they were there. I didn't want these rings to wander away. I know that Mom's neighbors come and go from each others rooms and borrow things. I know it's not stealing. I don't mind that the ladies borrow Mom's books, photo albums, stuffed animals, and hairbrush. I just didn't want to loose Mom's good jewelry.
I told my brother what I did, I told him I'd be sending these rings to his daughters. But, I hadn't yet. And now it's too late.
My house was broken into. All, all, all the jewelry is gone! In less than five minutes someone cleaned out my house. I am mad. But... I am so grateful that no one was hurt, no one was home. It's all stuff and junk really. It's just stuff. But, it was my junk. My very old Brownie GS pin and the lovely green sea-glass earrings. They have no value except to me, they bring back happy memories to me. Now they are gone.
My right hand is naked, my ring is not there, my skin keeps asking me "Where is this ring? You aren't gardening today, you aren't washing the bathtub, why aren't you wearing your anniversary ring?" That makes me sad.
Over the past few years, as I have been cleaning out my Mother's house, and disposing of her precious junk without her knowledge; I have been thinking a lot about the value we place on our material possessions. As the song says "You'll have to leave it when the coffin lid's on. You can't take it with you Brother Will, Brother John."
Will Mom ever ask me where her rings are? Probably not. So I won't have to lie to her and tell her, "Don't worry Mom, I have them and they are safe."