This past week I was rummaging in my bathroom drawer, simultaneously thinking, “Jeepers, I need to clean this drawer out” and looking for bobby pins. (By the way, the mystery of the missing socks in the world ain’t got nothing on Case #34: Where Are All the Bobby Pins?) Anyway, I came across something that made me drop the collection of bobby pins I’d been holding and redirect my thoughts to this place that is both faraway and achingly familiar at the very same time.
It was a heart-shaped diamond pendant. First my mind drifted to the years that it stayed clasped around my neck, glittering in the sun in a way that said, “remember, remember, remember.” And then to the memory itself: Clasped around my mother’s neck, dangling down to graze my cheek as she kissed me good night.
A few days after my mom died, I got out of the shower to find my sister sitting on the bathroom floor, combing though my mom’s jewelry box. This memory is vivid, I think, for two reasons: One, it was the moment I got the necklace. “This should be yours,” she said, putting it on my wet neck and letting it delicately fall into place, a weight of memory. Two, it was the first moment when we laughed. At first, it seemed all wrong; we instantly cut it out, looking at each other in fear. We shouldn’t be laughing.
If you feel like you shouldn’t be laughing, chances are that laughing is exactly what you need.
I wore that necklace for years, taking it off only to shower or swim, and then quickly replacing it back around my wet neck. And when people asked—which they did, since it was a fairly high-dollar item for a 12-year-old to don for the orthodontist—I told them proudly: “Oh, it’s my mother’s.” I remember, too, how each time it caught my eye, or each time that I touched the slightly rough diamonds, I remembered. What I don’t remember, though, is when I took it off.
Still, in late high school and throughout college, there aren’t many photos are me wearing the necklace. I always knew where it was, tucked away in a drawer or a jewelry case, but I didn’t need it to remember. I’d been restored. I’d been healed. And I was laughing again.
So when I came across it this week, I had to catch my breath as the memories sashayed back into my bathroom: my mother, the bathroom laughter, needing to remember. I held it in my palm, gently rubbing the diamonds as if they were a genie lamp. I briefly entertained the thought of clasping it back around my neck, of feeling the familiar weight on my chest, a constant reminder. But then I glanced up at the mirror, where my mother’s eyes winked back at me, and placed it back in the drawer.
For one thing, it didn’t match my outfit. And for another, I have all the reminders I need.
Later, though, I thought about it some more. This week has seemingly dragged on like “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” The closer I get to the impending excitement of people back in the city + no more desk job + a puppy (just kidding, sort of, with fingers crossed), the longer the days have seemed. With deadline behind us, the magazine is as quiet as a sleeping bunny rabbit.
But all it took was a diamond necklace to restore any holes in my gratitude: Healing. Restoration. Laughter. How many times have I sung this?
“Your love, God, is my song, and I’ll sing it! I’m forever telling everyone how faithful you are.
I’ll never quit telling the story of your love.” –Psalm 89:1-2
And I’ll be singing it forever, kids.