Saturday, November 17, 2012

Grandma's Brooch

Tears burned my eyes as I held Grandma’s brooch in the palm of my hand. I hadn’t seen the heirloom in years. Slivers of light reflected off the rhinestones and shot a rainbow of color in every direction.
I fastened it to my mother’s pink sweater. I wanted Mom to look her best, especially for this occasion. Women are always particular about their appearance, don’t you think?
As I stood in the church, people approached my mother and me. One by one, they commented on Mom’s angelic countenance. Then their eyes shifted to Grandma’s brooch.

“Oh, what a beautiful pin,” one said as she clasped her hands.
“Look how it sparkles,” said another. “Your mother looks absolutely beautiful.”
And she did.
A lump formed in my throat, and I nodded, knowing I had done my job.
When the men closed the lid of the coffin for the last time, the funeral director handed me a bag. “The thank-you notes, extra obituaries, and guest book are inside,” he said. “We placed your mother’s jewelry in a small envelope.”
“Thank you. I appreciate all you’ve done for our family.”
He patted my shoulder and walked away.
I stared at the sack. It struck me as odd. Years of love, laughter, and tears had come down to a moment as this—a bag full of “things”. It just didn’t seem right.
A few days later, I retrieved the small envelope. Mom’s rings, watch, and necklace lay tucked inside.
But Grandma’s brooch wasn’t there.
My pulse sped as I rifled through the remaining contents of the bag. Where did they put that?
I finally abandoned my search, picked up the phone, and called the funeral home. “Where’s the brooch my mother was wearing?” I drummed my fingers on the kitchen counter. “It belonged to my grandmother.”
The poor man actually stuttered, said he needed to talk with his associates, and asked if he could call me back.
When he finally did, he explained how they all saw the pin, but he thought one of the other men took it off. The other men thought he did. Then he humbly apologized.
I massaged my forehead. “It’s okay.”

My heart pinched as I forced the words out. But there are two human attributes I’ve always been a sucker for: honesty and humility. How could I be angry with him?
Speaking of honesty, I now realize I was clinging to something that reminded me of those who had drifted away. I didn’t want to let go.
No matter the heirloom, it really is just another material thing. And it’s about so much more than that.
The love my mother and grandmother gave me wasn't tied up in that pin. It’s in my heart. And I’ll carry it with me—forever.

Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Heirloom". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.