The Ring Bearer

My grandma gave me a piece of her jewelry.

It is a pinky ring. First of all, how gangsta is it that my Grandma's signature jewelry piece is a pinky ring? Second of all, it is a bunch of grapes but instead of being set with amethyst my grandma had it custom made with garnets (her birth stone and mine). So they are red grapes.

Wearing this ring keeps my grandma in the forefront of my mind a lot. I love my grandma. I wish I could be like my grandma.  My grandma is funny and generous and smart. Sharp. My grandma is sharp. But that's my perception of her as my grandma. When I wear this ring, I wonder about the person.

She by all accounts did not have an easy life.  She was a single mom with four kids to raise. She had lost both of her brothers to death. Her childhood was apparently pretty rough. Sometimes I forget all of this and get curious about what she was like as a kid, teenager, woman, mother. I tried asking once about her childhood. About what it was like growing up with a twin brother. I didn't get very far. Instead I quickly got the hint to move on to happier, easier topics.

My grandmother never remarried. She isn't an unattractive woman.   And surely she doesn't reserve all of her charm for her grandchildren.  I have often wondered why. Was her marriage to my grandfather that scarring? That painful? Could she never trust a man? Did she just never meet anybody who interested her? Did she prefer being alone? Was there some Catholic belief that held her back? Surely she was free? He remarried-several times over. And had more children.

And what of her beliefs? And at one point, I think she stopped practicing Catholicism. Only to take it back up later in life.

And what did she do when everything seemed dark and bleak and horrible? She must have had those days. She had a failing marriage and four girls to raise.  How did she make it?

She made it somehow. For here she is today. Alive. Has good enough relationships with her girls to live with them in her later years and ill health. Is adored by all her grandchildren.

I wear this ring and I ponder all of these things. And I take comfort that things may fall apart - a lot. But your life isn't forever broken. And I hope that I am strong enough to prove that to people too.