Earlier in the year, my Auntie was moved into a care home. She’d been in and out of hospital over the previous year and quite frankly it wasn’t safe for her to be at home any more. On one of my visits to see her we discussed what needed doing with her flat and she told me that she wanted me to have my Granny’s engagement ring. I didn’t even know that she’d had one, I don’t remember her ever wearing it. But I was so honoured that it would be mine, I adored my Granny and the woman who wore this ring was very special to me.
Thankfully I found the ring in its original Bakelite box (thanks Dad for reminding me that plastic hadn’t been invented in the 1930s). It fit almost perfectly but was just a little too big for me to feel comfortable wearing it. I managed to get it slightly adjusted my a local jeweller just before the lockdown, and I have worn it every day since.
Whenever I feel stressed or upset about the situation we all find ourselves in right now, I remind myself about the woman who wore this ring originally. My Granny. She’d been through so much more than I could ever imagine.
Whenever I’ve struggled over this lockdown, the uncertainty of what lies ahead, wondering when we will have the freedom to visit family and friends, I’ve looked at my Granny’s ring and remembered the woman who wore this ring and all that she’d endured. She lost her father when she was a teenager. She’d had to give up any dreams and aspirations she might have had to leave school and find a job. She needed to help her mother to support the family, so her younger sister and brother could stay in education, so that food could be put on the table. Her brother was often ill. I can only imagine the joy she must have felt when my Papa proposed with this ring. She’d found love that would endure over the years. Life would still be hard, there wouldn’t be much money, but there would be love. And then tragedy would strike the woman who wore this ring again when her second child died when he was just five months old. I struggled enough with a miscarriage, how did she ever cope with the loss of her first son? It’s not a conversation that we ever had. He was never mentioned, in my earshot at least.
Then there was WWII, living through that on a daily basis, dealing with the loss of one child, having a daughter and then the arrival of two more children. Living with a husband who was often visiting parishioners, being left to deal with everything at home. She must have dealt with so much.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed and just finding the new normal a struggle, I just look down at this ring and think about the woman who wore this ring first.
She would just have got on with it. I think of her and my Papa, and I feel that they are with me and that tomorrow everything will be a bit easier.