The tiny diamond earrings came in a small box with Custom Cellular garishly stamped across the top. While some might consider it quite tactless to give them away as a Christmas gift when it was clear that they were nothing more than a sales promotional giveaway, I was more than happy when my son gave them to me. If he had had a girlfriend, she would likely have preferred a jewelry store version; however, a mother who is not in any way a jewelry aficionado makes a perfect recipient for diamond earrings that came as a bonus to a cell phone contract.
In true non-aficionado style, I wore the earrings off and on, much like I wore any of the few pairs of earrings I owned. They were pretty. And tiny. If I wear earrings, I do prefer tiny. Eventually, my donning of earrings just sort of fizzled out in the midst of other more important things, and before long the holes in my ears had closed themselves off to the idea as well. The tiny diamonds stayed tucked away in a chipped blue ceramic container with a few other pairs and half-pairs of earrings and a broken necklace or two.
Life moved on.
And then it all came to a grinding, grieving halt, and somehow the miniscule diamonds now carried tremendous value. They became one of a very few tangible links left to a son I could no longer hug and whose white DC shoes would never again park haphazardly by the back door. Suddenly I needed to be able to wear those tiny treasures again. Getting the holes reopened in my ears was a bit painful, but it was worth the process. I know it can sound silly and sentimental, but wearing the earrings has felt like my way of commemorating my son. My younger son has his big brother`s birthdate tattooed on his chest; I wear tiny diamond earrings.
I lost one of them this week.
I had taken them out, as I occasionally do, and put them in my glasses case where I am most likely to remember where they are. And mostly I have remembered just fine, but the other day I somehow forgot or something distracted me and by the time I went to put them back in, only one was in the case. I didn`t panic because the rational, non-jewelry aficionado part of me said that it was just an earring. But the grieving mother part of me said that if I lost this one earring, what else was I going to lose to remind me of my son and what would happen if I eventually lost everything to remember him, even my memories? I looked everywhere I could reasonably look, but the idea of finding such a tiny item when it could be anywhere at home or at work just became more daunting than I had emotional fortitude for. I put the remaining one back in the chipped blue container and took out a pair of fake diamonds to put on instead. Fake ones with no memories attached. I tried to chalk it up to just one more ambush on my soul that would pass with time. It was, after all, just an earring. Losing an earring is NOT like losing a son.
Life moved on.
Today I was somewhat mindlessly doing my usual laundry and house cleaning chores, focused more on thoughts of an afternoon ski than dirty clothes and dusty floors. I almost missed the shiny little piece of sliver underneath the dining room chair as I was flitting the dust mop about. Right there under the chair where I eat my breakfast and supper every day. Joyful tears. Finding the lost earring does NOT replace my son, but it sure feels comfortable to be wearing them both again. Grief isn’t comfortable, but good memories are. I treasure the memories – those tiny diamond moments that I hope never to lose. Ever.