It’s amazing the types of things that comfort us in difficult times. The day we buried mom was perhaps the worst day of my life. When I lost dad that was bad enough, but mom and I had been inseparable since dad passed and I had lost a very large piece of my heart that day. I remember standing in the chapel at the funeral home looking at her in the casket, memories of her flooding my brain as I cried, feeling so alone and wanting to just crawl in there with her. What was I going to do without her?
The funeral director called us to come together in the family room so I touched mom’s face one last time and said my final goodbye. As I tried desperately to put one foot in front of the other, I saw something out of the corner of my eye; I turned my head and laying there on the empty pew was one of those bracelets that we used to make when we were kids – you know the kind with the different colored string wound together to make what was then called a “friendship bracelet.” It was pink and black and white and was a bit big so I had to double it in order to put it on my wrist. I haven’t taken it off since.
Why – when the chapels are cleaned daily and hers was the first service of the day – would this have been left there? Surely, someone on staff would have picked it up and thrown it away or put it in the lost and found after the final service the previous day? The answer is simple – I’ve come to believe that mom left this bracelet there for me, just so I would know she was okay. Because I had to double the bracelet, it feels as if I have mom’s arms holding me, keeping me safe. I know the day will come when I won’t need it anymore, and I am leaving that decision to fate. One morning I will wake up or I’ll be at work and look down and it will be gone. I’m not looking forward to that day because as simplistic as it seems, this bracelet has become a part of me and is a reminder that mom is still with me. It has become a “security blanket” of sorts and like a child with a pacifier, it keeps me calm.
Mom told me when I was three years old, we were in the car riding down Broad Street and all of a sudden, I threw my beloved pacifier out the window. When she asked me why, my response was “no want.” I never used a pacifier again. Perhaps the day my bracelet leaves me will be the day I “no need,” but I’ll cherish it while I have it.