The meaning of commitment, and the complete show of love.
|It seemed to be nothing more than my Grandmother’s locket, but I had heard the story, and knew it to be much more. It had been given to my Grandmother Marie long ago by my grandfather. I didn’t know him, though. Neither did Mom. I didn’t really know why she gave me the locket either. Gathered around her bed at home, she had divvied up her possessions so there was no confusion when she died. I liked the idea, because it made things easier on Mom, but it was still hard to see her on her deathbed.
I was the second to last person she had talked to. She had turned to me, and beckoned me closer. “Come here, child.” I came to her side hesitantly, by tears hidden behind a mask at the moment. “I want you to have this.” Grandma pulled the chain around her neck so the clasp was at the front and she could undo it. I wanted to protest, not wanting the thing she cherished the most. I was afraid I’d lose it, or break it. But as I watched her finally get the clasp to close with it off her neck, my words lost their way. “Just open it, and let your emotions go.” She’d rasped.
Grandfather Peter was an archeologist, the story went. He had discovered stories that told of an ancient civilization in the Sierra Mountains. Therefore, with his team, he was to go there and dig through and under the mountains to see if there were any other clues they could find. Grandma hadn’t wanted him to go, afraid he might not come back. There had been a fight that had ended with him leaving the house to cool down. But he eventually returned, and surprised Grandma with a gift. He’d bought a gold locket and had a picture taken of him to put in it. “This will remind you of me every day.” He’d told her. Then he had taken her hand, and gave it a squeeze. Grandma had said that it was that squeeze that convinced her more than anything that he would return, for in that squeeze was all the love that Grandpa had for her.
A year later there was a story on the news that told how one of the tunnels under the mountain had collapsed. The few who survived were severely injured, and either couldn’t speak, or couldn’t remember because of amnesia. Grandma hoped and prayed every day – her locket in hand – that Grandpa would come back from that. That he hadn’t died in that tunnel. Years passed with her prayers unanswered. Mom was born, and grew up without knowing him. Grandma grew old, and would eventually see grandchildren, and Grandpa hadn’t come home, yet she still prayed, and hoped.
It was for that reason I was surprised that she had given it to me. And the reason I didn’t want it. It seemed like she had finally given up, and I didn’t like that. I didn’t open it there. I just nodded to her, and stepped back into the crowd.
A man stepped forward after me, holding some white lilies. She smiled, tears running down her cheeks, and gestured him closer. Not having enough strength to speak, she whispered her last words into his ear. He smiled grimly, kissed her forehead, and set the flowers on the bedside table.
On the way home, mom talked about how grandma was a good woman and deserved the peaceful death she had. I stared at the locket she gave me, trembling slightly. Finally, I opened it and gasped in surprise. The picture inside was a much younger version of the man who she had whispered to. Grandpa had been there. After all this time, he had finally come home. He must have spent his life looking for her.
Just open it and let your emotions go.
It was then that I cried.