This ring is entirely mine.
It wasn’t at first. No, at first it was my Great Aunt’s. We shared the same birthstone: an opal for October babies. Even though I didn’t have the fortune of meeting her, as she passed before I was born, I still feel a strong connection to her because of this ring. I think we would’ve been good friends.
Then it became my Grandmother’s. Three years ago for Christmas, she passed the ring down to me. I’ve never taken it off since.
I’ve swam with it on in Georgian Bay, written tons of essays and exams with it on, showered with it on, slept (and dreamt) with it on, read great books with it on, exercised with it on, traveled with it on, held hands with it on, and played instruments with it on. It may be a little scratched and tarnished compared to the first day I got it, but I don’t want to keep it stashed away forever in a jewelry box. Though it would provide protection and stand as an ever-lasting monument to my family, I want it to be close to me at all times, to experience the things that I go through. I know it’s just a material object, but I feel like it should have a life of its own too. That’s the reason why I never take it off.
Well, most of the reason, anyway…
Three years ago my Grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She gave the ring to me at a time when things started to go downhill. Chemo, radiation, and medication didn’t seem to do anything. Grandma was young, being only in her early 70s, and I think we all thought she would make it through okay. She had been diagnosed 20 years earlier with the same disease, had her breasts surgically removed, and moved on with her life. For years it was believed that she was cancer free, until she was diagnosed again three years ago, the same disease spanning across her entire body.
I wouldn’t give this ring away for anything. Every time I look down at it it reminds me of her, and I know that she gave it to me for a reason.
It’s weird how things work out. She liked to read and write, just like me. It was around the time I was born that she was first diagnosed, and she passed away this past June, days before my graduation from University.
I’m also posting this in October, the month for breast cancer awareness, the month of my Great Aunt’s birthday as well as my own, and I’m posting (rather personally even though it started out as unintentional) about an opal ring.
October, October, October.
On September 30th, my friend I ran our first official 5k in CIBC’s Run for the Cure. I wore the ring. Together we raised $705.00 for breast cancer research. I’m still amazed at the generosity and compassion that people have for one another, even for complete strangers. Waves of pink came from all around, supporting those who have passed, those who are struggling, and those who have survived. For years Grandma was a volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society, and I hope I did her proud last Sunday.
Everyday I wish that she was still here with me, and everyday that passes is a longer duration since the last time we saw each other or spoke. When I look down at my ring, for a moment I believe we are reconnected, all three of us.
For now, the ring is mine, but years to come I will pass it down to my own daughter or granddaughter, just like my Great Aunt and Grandma.