A Brief exchange with my departed wife's family.
|I got a weird email from Julia several days ago while I was at work. "Check your mail." That's all it said. I was left thinking she was just as nuts as I am. Surly if I'm reading her email, I have obviously 'checked' it. So I reply with the inquiry as to her simple phrase.
I didn't know if it was my lack of intuition or if I was just being a spaz, but it didn't occurred to me that she was talking about the actual mail. Like, US snail mail. So after getting off work, I go and look in the post box. There was nothing there.
Okay...Julia obviously sent me something in the mail, I knew that much. But as I see the box was empty, it's clear it hasn't arrived. So I email her and ask her what she was talking about.
I don't know if it's just the fact that she now has a newborn to care for, and she just didn't have the time to write to me properly as to what this is all about (she usually writes more than a single sentence in her emails), but she just replied with another simple phrased email.
"Oh, well check tomorrow."
WTF! At any rate, the next day, I finally see a package mixed in with the rest of the junk mail. By the way, why is "junk" mail still alive? Shouldn't that have died out by now? I mean, I don't think I've seen anyone actually keep all that stuff. Maybe a glance or two right there by the post box before quickly dumping it. Right then, I'm trailing off. So I grab the package and see the address on it is from Ireland. Immediately, a smile on my face appears.
I really don't care what's inside of the package at this point. As long as it's from Ireland, it can be a pile of dirt and I'd be satisfied. Yeah, I love the country that much. What I found inside the small package, was no sample of Irish earth though. No, it was a ring. A silver ring inside a little zip-seal bag.
Enclosed as well, was a couple of notes; one from Julia and the other from grandma Mullaney. In Julia's letter, it said that she and her little newborn Jessie headed over to the great island to visit her gran. So the little one could meet her great grandmother, or vise versa.
Somewhere in their family reunion, I came up in the conversation. About how I was suppose to visit a while ago, but I never did make it out. Oops! I felt bad as I read this section. I really did mean to travel for a visit, but I just haven't had the cash avail.
Julia went on to say that she had mentioned to gran that I had lost the I ring I gave to my wife Jessie - lost it a while ago. The same ring I had bought for her there in Ireland when I asked her to marry me. The same one Jessie wore everyday from that moment on. Her first engagement ring...
Grandma Mullaney has always been so very nice to me. I don't know if it's just that she is sweet by nature, or that it's some sort of Irish trait, or just the fact that most grandmothers are, in fact, sweet and caring; but she has always truly been like my very own grandmother. I still remember at the funeral, she was so consoling, even though she herself was mourning. If I had been in the right state of mind at the time, I think her love could have helped me cope with our loss a bit better...
...Anyway, Julia went onto write that gran felt so bad that I had lost my wife's ring, she was a little distraught herself. So with that in her mid, she went down to the same shop there in Wicklow where I bought Jessie's ring so long ago. Apparently, grandma Mullaney knows the lady that owns the little silver jewelry shop. So with her help, they made a ring special for me.
Mind you, I'm not the type of guy who wears jewelry or anything like that. All I've ever worn is my wedding band, and Jessie's ring after she passed away. I think gran knew this, because what she sent me, what she made for me, was this simple chain linked design.
Reading the letter that she herself wrote for me, gran let it be known the meaning behind the design she chose for the ring. The linked chain.
"For you my dear grandson, I have sent you this symbol of our love. In the way you have loved my granddaughter so eternally, rest her soul, we will always love you the same. I know this won't replace the Jessie's ring, and the memories you carried with it, but it will show you that we will always love you like our own flesh and blood."
I...it...my eyes swelled up right away, and tears began to run. I will always be family to gran. To Julia, to Patricia, to all of this family. I will be forever "linked" to them, just as I am, and will always be linked to my lost wife...
These tears that broke free weren't from sadness, not this time. They were for happiness, for life, for appreciation. I read these words and I looked at this ring, and I felt this wonderful feeling inside. I felt love, I felt warmth, I felt like I belonged.
I wanted to call Julia up at that moment and let her know just how thankful I was, how sweet grandma Mullaney is to think of me, and send me this gift. But of course, it was late in the evening, and with the London time difference; it was well past midnight. So I emailed her a quite lengthy thank you note. To her, and most importantly, to pass on to grandma Mullaney...
(Ring image not able to post)
So here it is, this ring that will now take the same finger where I wore Jessie's ring. Both this ring and the one I gave to my wife are not expensive at all. They come from a little tourist silver shop in Ireland. But it's not about the cost of the rings, it never was. The memories they hold and the story it carries; that means more to me, that's its actual worth.
I don't really know how grandma "M" figured my ring size, but I'm so very grateful that I still have this great family that thinks of me as part of their own. Given all of what's happened, I couldn't be more thankful for their support and their love...