Losing a pendant, gaining some insight..
| Lessons of the Heart (Pendant)
By Donna Lowich
Stolen. The word made me shudder just to think of it. I had only taken the necklace off because the clasp on the chain needed a little repair, and I thought I might lose it if I wore it that day. Not wanting to take the chance, I took it off and placed it carefully in my dresser drawer. That same day, our next-door neighbor burglarized our house, taking my pendant as well as other pieces of jewelry and money. It seems destined that my cherished pendant would be lost to me.
It was not just any pendant; this was a gift given to me by my son for Mother’s Day, a gift paid for with money he earned from his very first job. It was my most prized possession, and now it was gone.
”Hey, want to go shopping?” I picked up the phone to hear my sister’s cheery voice. I hadn’t planned on shopping. I was in the midst of a foul mood, and didn’t really want to be saved from it. In fact, I was in the midst of trying to find a word for my curmudgeon-like behavior…irascible, crabby, downright cranky, in a funk, in a snit. Ah! That was it! I was in a snit, and oddly enough, enjoying every miserable minute of it.
Usually, I’d jump at the chance to go shopping, especially with Mary Lou; usually, just hearing her voice cheers me up. But, for the time being, there was a hole in my heart, and I wasn’t about to let anyone take away my power to make myself miserable.
With some urging, although my mood was not improved significantly, I reluctantly agreed to go. We were closing in on Christmas, and shopping was on my “To Do” list.
Besides, talking to Mary Lou always helps; she always puts things into perspective. I just couldn’t shake my feelings of anger and resentment towards the neighbor to whom I had opened my house during his younger days, since he was almost the same age as my son.
My sister and I had talked about it on a number of occasions; this was another sequel.
Still, Mary Lou listened sympathetically as I vented: the only way to rid myself of the anger was to get a duplicate of my heart pendant. Mary Lou worked her usual magic as she verbally peeled away, layer by layer, the dark mood that surrounded me. With the promise of checking some jewelry stores, we shifted topics to Christmas, focusing on gift ideas for our families; we even tackled our Christmas dinner menu.
At the mall, we made a beeline to the nearest jewelry store. The saleslady listened patiently, but I knew she was too busy to hear all the details. I described the pendant to her: a filigreed gold heart inset with garnets. She explained that the stock of items changes over time, and that I may never find the exact duplicate of my pendant. Disappointment struck again, but I had to go on; it was Christmas, and I had plenty of shopping to do for family and friends.
Mary Lou, supportive as always, patted my arm. “Don’t worry, “ she whispered to me as we left the store. “We’re not done yet."
That is her essence: Never give up. This was not the first time that she bolstered my sagging spirits. Fifteen years earlier, I underwent two spinal cord surgeries, which rendered me paralyzed from the shoulders down. During my most troubled moments during those months while undergoing physical therapy, Mary Lou was there for me. Each weekend while I was in the rehabilitation center, and even after my discharge home, she stayed with me, bringing my then-three-year-old nephew, Kenny, to play with my four-year-old son, Jeffrey.
At the same time, she researched the topic of motivational tapes, and brought them for me to watch. This was the time to work and achieve, not to sit back and wallow in self-pity. That was her gift to me back then.
We finished our shopping trip, all the while checking all the jewelry stores we could find. The heart pendant could not be replaced. It was time to come to grips with that conclusion.
Several weeks later, on Christmas morning, my family and I fulfilled our traditions. We opened our gifts, and spent time together before leaving on the hour-long drive to my sister’s house in the northern part of the state.
At Mary Lou’s house, our day is steeped in more traditions. We had breakfast together, and then we exchanged gifts. Mary Lou handed me a small, beautifully wrapped box. I looked at the box, and then at Mary Lou. Inside was a gold heart pendant enhanced with several rubies! It wasn’t like the one I had lost, but even a duplicate wouldn’t be the same as the one I had lost. I know that now. This one represented an attempt to heal a wound that had previously refused to close.
As we embraced, Mary Lou whispered, “See? I told you we weren’t done yet!”
There were tears, more hugs and smiles, and a lesson learned:
Sometimes it takes a painful event to teach us what is most important in life: it is impossible to replace anything we lose, whether it is family, friends, pets or a heart pendant. It is important to enjoy what we have while we have it. Anger only prevents us from enjoying the moment to the fullest.
Mary Lou taught me that lesson. And, on occasion when I forget, she’s always there to provide the refresher course.
Beyond that, I learned that it is Mary Lou who has the heart of gold.