Sunday, May 01, 2011

Tears and Gratitude.

As a child growing up the first of May was always very special because it is the feast day of Our Lady. I was raised a Catholic and had a beautiful Grandmother that taught me so many things, how to pray the Rosary on my little set of beads I got for my Communion, how to crochet, how to write a proper letter. When she came to stay she would share my bedroom. There were two single beds side by side. She encouraged me to bounce on mine while she sat in hers opposite me and laughed. She sang old songs to me and taught me old fashioned poems about toys turning rusty waiting for the return of their child owner to play with them. All nostalgic things and many of them that have died out over the years. My kids know the words to lots of current songs on their iPods but how many poems? They send Thank You emails instead of writing by hand.

Today as I hung washing on the line I thought back to how I spent the 1st of May as a child. We had a little statue of Mary and we would dust it down and get one of Granny's crocheted circles and set up a "May Altar" We would get a tiny vase and put some flowers in it and keep those flowers changed and freshened up over the month of May. Remembering these things made me feel nostalgic and so I went inside and started to tell my kids all these stories and memories.

They wanted to make a "May Altar" of their own so I got out the one piece of my Granny's crochet that I own and a tiny antique Waterford crystal vase that was given to me on my wedding day. All that was missing was something to represent Mary. I thought about a small tea-light holder I use at Christmas. It has three glass panels with an image of the Holy family on it. It was the only thing I could think of so I went into the garage and pulled down the Christmas decorations box from a high shelf. What I found inside reduced me to tears.

I need to side track to tell you something else so you will understand the end to my story. I have not been able to find my engagement ring for quite a while. Or my eternity ring. Or the diamond sapphire ring Byron bought me when we had Sian. I have torn my house apart and kept this awful secret from Byron till I felt sick. I take my rings off  to go work as a nurse. I usually leave them in a particular place but they weren't there when I went to find them many weeks ago. I worried that I had put them somewhere foolish, that they were lost or thrown away or stolen. I have cried and torn cupboards out onto the floor desperately looking for them with no success.

I finally told Byron a few weeks ago. He was as upset as me but had no clue where to find them either. When I reached my hand into the box of Christmas decorations I pulled out the tea-light holder. There inside it hidden under the used tea-light were my three rings. I can only assume that one morning in January I saw my rings on my hand as I was late rushing out the door to work, stopped and looked for somewhere to put them that they wouldn't fall or get lost and decided to drop them into the little holder till I got home. How I didn't go back for them I don't know. Or why didn't I see them as I packed the Christmas decorations away? All I know is that if I hadn't stopped today to remember my past, if I hadn't honoured the feast day of Our Lady, if I hadn't tried to keep an old tradition alive then I would not have found my rings until mid December when we decorated the house again.

After I finished crying I went to find Byron and I cried again as I showed him the rings, I slipped them back on my fingers, placed the tea-light holder on Granny's crochet next to the vase of wild flowers and said a very genuine prayer of thanks. Thank you Mary for watching over me as a little child. Thank you for letting me have my rings back now instead of December. I make you the same promise now as I made as a child. I will try to keep your altar in place and with fresh flowers over this month of May.


13 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. Gina that was such a lovely read! I was just thinking about my Grannies today, we lived in the South of England and they lived in Scotland and N.Ireland so we only saw them a couple of times a year. I missed ever really having a relationship with them and now have done the same to my kids. While it's a shame not to write proper letters anymore, I'm very thankful for emails and Skype!
    So glad you found your rings too, one of mine belonged to my Scottish Granny and is worth more than all my jewellery put together - I'm too scared to ever take it off in case I lose it!
    Have a great week,
    Sandra x

    (PS Just had a race around the Lake this morning with Husband and Dog! Bit gloomy to start with but warmer out than in!)

  2. i loved this post. I'm so happy you found your rings!

    I love how much tradition your family has. So many things that date way back. It's so fun to watch, and to "be a part" of these things you hold dear!

  3. Ok... now I am really crying. I am Catholic also and was "chosen" to ride the May Queen float when I was in first grade. I remember it being such a big honor, even as a young girl. Mary does indeed watch over us and today, my friend, she showed you how! Love this story. Happy May!

  4. Gina,
    What a beautiful story - I have tingles up my arms and tears in my eyes from reading it.

  5. Gina, reading this gave me goosebumps all over. I'm so glad that you found your lovely rings and what a story to the find. Thank you for your comments on my blog I really love reading them especially liked the one about the inscripton on your wedding ring - how romantic of your Welsh man.

  6. Gosh I got goosebumps reading this....about 4 weeks before moving to Australia, I removed my wedding ring to have a shower and my young niece picked it up and lost it. We searched high and low to no avail and I arrived in Australia ringless and upset. My grandmother passed away 4 weeks after our arrival so we made the trek back for her funeral. I was given a ring of hers to look after until her coffin was closed and as it was too small for my finger I placed it inbetween the front seats of a car we have borrowed. In the morning we could not find my nana's ring and tore the car apart to search for it and still unbelieveable to us to this day, we found my wedding ring. It is such an amazing story and one I would never have believed if I hadn't experienced it in the flesh.

  7. Dear Gina, I too am sheding many tears.My mum was a woman of tremendous faith, particularly so in Our Lady. As you know mum is in care in a dementia specific ward. She is bed ridden and has not been able to communicate for some time.I visit her every second day and I always hold her hands and say a couple of prayers out loud to her.The Hail Mary always brings a calmness to her. Her little face softens and she peacefully looks up at me. It is beautiful to watch what I believe is Our Lady comforting mum in this way.

    So happy you found your rings, and in such a beautiful way!

  8. Beautiful story Gina...just beautiful.

  9. How wonderful that you found your rings, I am sure thinking of the past was the little nudge :-) I was given my rosary beads by my granny too (Irish) .. but never really knew my Maltese side, such a shame . I don't see much of all my grandkids either .. one I haven't seen for a year .. his mother doesn't bother with us much. Oh well nothing I can do about it, he knows I am thinking of him.

  10. What a wonderful story! And what a great grandma you're blessed with!

  11. What a great post, Gina! I do love the happy ending and all thanks to following tradition with Mary. God is good... Always!

  12. What an absolutely wonderful posting!!! I'm so happy that you found your rings!!!! You must've felt absolutely horrible to have kept that secret from your husband. I just love happy endings!! : )

    ~ Wendy

  13. I am so glad that you found your rings Gina, that you were pointed in the direction to find them. That is such happy news. xo