Arts & Crafts Magazine

I Lost My Wedding Diamond and the Strangest Thing Happened.

By Laharris1

I shared this quote from the Buddha on my Instagram the other day, and I had no idea it would morph out of my computer screen and become a real-life situation in front of me:I lost my wedding diamond and the strangest thing happened.

At the time it was just one of those inspiring ideas that gets shared by me because, who doesn’t want to be one of those people who finds a blessing in every situation? Yeah, like what the Buddha said.But the following night as I was crawling into bed I felt my ring finger snag on my blanket and I instantly knew something was wrong. When I glanced down at my hand my wedding ring was there, but the diamond was gone, leaving only the sharp tips of the four-pronged setting attached to a white thread.What?! I was stunned.I had no idea when the ½ caret diamond fell out of the setting.Later during that night Jim turns over in bed and asks me what’s wrong. I have no idea how he knows I am lying awake, my eyes open in the dark, but we talk again about my missing diamond. “I just can’t believe it’s gone. And. I guess I'm surprised how much it bothers me… I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the timing.”Sometimes the littlest loss can feel like a kick when we’re already down. 

Have you noticed this too?For what seems like weeks, I had been languishing in sickness, too fatigued by a hacking cough to allow my typical self-care regimen to carry on, the things that keep me feeling grounded.

Suddenly the culmination of illness, no yoga classes, a missed appointment with my hair colorist, and of all things-- a broken kitchen faucet now spewing water from under the sink, had left me vulnerable. Feeling out of sorts.In the morning, still wearing my empty ring, I look in the mirror and see a woman I don’t recognize, tired, with a few gray strands popping from her head.I decide to scour the entire house for my shining gem, all the while feeling aware of the irony.

I lost my wedding diamond and the strangest thing happened.
You see, I’m not really a diamond person; I’ve never cared much about having them, nor do I notice them on other women’s fingers. My rings tend to be sterling silver and delicate, or a cool piece with turquoise that I bought at booth when I was wandering the sunny streets of Laguna Beach trying to find my car.The one exception has been my diamond wedding ring that I haven’t taken it off in thirty years. I guess you could say I'm attached to it.I feel about this missing diamond like I felt about Sparky, my very own orange-striped tomcat that died when I was in second grade. I knew something was up by the look on my young Mom’s face when she showed up outside my grade school in our old, 1957 Ford Station Wagon.Even six and a half year-olds know bad news is coming when their mother begins with a shaky, “Sis. I have something to tell you….” We didn’t make it pass the giant, metal warehouses at the end of the block when I started sobbing uncontrollably, and it only got worse when my Mom tried to console me.“We’ll get you another cat…. I promise…. I promise!” “I don’t want another cat. I-want-Spar-keey!” I answered between hiccups.
Which explains my disinterest in a replacement right now.The wedding diamond I want back is the one that my blonde, sunburnt boyfriend skimped and saved for while we lived in a flamingo-colored complex in Venice, California. It was the eighties, and I thought the avocado green and peach tiles in our closet-sized bathroom were a perfect backdrop for our showers.

We slept under old casement windows, stuck half-open because of clumps of cracked paint inside the frames, but we loved feeling the ocean air blowing over us as we lay on a simple mattress, no headboard, no expensive bedding, and light years away from our parenting life. It's weird, really.  But when you wear something on your third digit for thirty years it feels like a sensory extension of your hand. It's just there, part of your finger.Until it’s not.Ok God. Buddha. The Universe. That part of me that aspires to be more than someone who picks out meaningful words to post on Instagram and then forgets them. I know a lesson when I see one. I know it because every time I look at that empty gold, four-pronged setting on my finger I feel that hollow pit in my stomach. And I whine about the odds of having a diamond just plop out of a ring, and why did this happen to me anyway, and at the worst possible time.Of course. The good Me would automatically think, Why not you Leslie?But this is not a good Me right now, this is a Me whacked out on poor sleep and a lingering cough and the realization that this isn’t a simple, replaceable possession. And this makes me sad.Like a lot of stuff we lug around with us, my ring is imbued with precious memories that connect me to my past, to a cocktail lounge inside Marina Del Rey, California circa 1987, with ocean waves splashing outside the window, a cherry wood bar the size of an island, and black leather seats. Jim, with a funny smile as he stands up, then drops to his knee with a blue velvet box and my diamond ring inside.And now it's gone.And so there it is. My lesson about attachment and loss. This is what the Buddhists talk about when they remind us that impermanence is a fact of life. Nothing. Stays. The same. Which is the reason we must learn to live our lives fully in the present moment. Attaching ourselves to “sameness” is what causes us suffering; the more we cling and resist and deny our feelings about these changes, the harder our journey.Frank Ostaseski, the Buddhist teacher pointed out that we all experience losses and “little deaths” almost daily. In his book, Five Invitations, he writes:“The loss of a treasured piece of jewelry, being let go from a job, the abrupt breakup of a relationship, infertility, financial crises, kids going off the school, the loss of our vitality …the loss of control, the loss of our dreams,…when our expectations aren’t met…Sometimes our grief is about what we’ve had and lost, and sometimes it is about what we never got to have in the first place.”His point is that the little losses in life will help us prepare for the bigger ones, if we bring our whole self to the experience, allowing our many expressions of grief to be acceptable. My diamond is lost. I feel sad. That’s natural. That’s ok.Maybe I’ll find it.Maybe this tiny gem will fall out of my sheets at some miraculous moment, and a ray of white light will illuminate it mid-air and I’ll reach out in slow-mo and catch it in the middle of my palm. But probably not.
I lost my wedding diamond and the strangest thing happened.
Gale's homeIn the meantime, I went to visit Gale because that’s what I do on Friday afternoons. Gale was married to Bob for over 50 years until he died of cancer at Thanksgiving. Sometimes she thinks she hears him sneeze from the next room. Bob was a man’s man, a fighter pilot in WW2, and once after he had told me about a special mission in North Korea I said, “My god Bob, you’re a hero.” But he just raised his left eyebrow and with his cigarette dangling from his mouth, told me in his Jimmy Stewart drawl, “Well, I didn’t do anything different than any other soldier.” Bob took care of everything for Gale because both her knees need to be replaced and she can barely walk. He was assigned to be my hospice patient, but on my visits he always insisted that I focus on Gale, because that was helping him, he told me.Last week I planted a bare-root rose to honor Bob’s death. Gale had ordered it on Amazon despite her tight budget, and while I dug in the dirt she sat on the rickety wood bench, bleached from the ocean air and watched me. Afterwards I poured ice tea into two paper cups and I saw her blue eyes glaze over as she stared at the thorny stems and thought about her husband.“He was such a kind man you know. Such a good man, god, it was so hard to see him suffer so.” We tapped cups and when I walked out, she was so happy because the rose was planted close enough to her rusty purple door and she could watch it bloom.I know now. Gale has lost something truly invaluable, unmeasurably precious and irreplaceable.Me, I’ve just lost a diamond.Don’t misunderstand, I’m still bummed about my ring. But I also know that every night I get to hop into my warm bed with my husband. Every day I walk around on strong legs and I have a home that I’m not afraid of losing. Our grieving over our losses—no matter how big or small—will always be there, Ostaseski says.And he makes a good point about this. People never say, “When are you going to get over your happiness?” Well, our feelings of grief are no different, our loss doesn’t go away, it lasts a lifetime. But the relationship we have with the loss will change, the intensity will soften, and this allows us to keep moving forward.As this co-founder of the Zen Hospice Project explains, “We don’t get past our pain. We go through it and are transformed by it.”I think I know what he means.The external facts haven’t changed for me, the diamond is still gone. Yet even in the days since, there’s been a slow, loosening of my grip, an emerging ease about what happens or doesn’t happen next. Only now I’m no longer talking about my ring anymore, I’m thinking about how I react to Life.
I lost my wedding diamond and the strangest thing happened.
before the rose bush got plantedIn the meantime, I do know this. That when you least expect it, Life will deliver --the exact people and experiences-- you need to keep growing. To point you in the direction of real joy. To transform you into that best version of yourself. And that person who finds blessings in every situation? The invitation to be that person is always right there in front of us, waiting to be found in some of our most frustrating experiences. Like mine, with a tiny, missing diamond. And if we’re lucky, we’re paying attention.I'm sharing this post with friends:Imparting GraceThe Scoop

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