Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Faerie Opal

A week ago tomorrow my mother died.  After all the bitchery and woe that she brought into my life I have found it hard to grieve for an 86 year old woman who had absolutely everything she could wish for and blew it all out on tranquilizers and alcohol.  But she had changed in the seven years since my Papa died, and I have tried to make peace with her and love her as one should love their mother.  In some ways I have succeeded.  In others I have not.  The woman made my life hell all through school, and when I graduated High School she told my Papa I could no longer live in her house.  So I left.  And I did not go back much.  Once when my daughter was one year old I took her home for her first birthday.  Nothing had changed. I did not go back again for 31 years.  She was still as vicious as I remembered.  How do you grieve for a mother like that?

Today I received the answer to that question.  An email came from my younger sister - the one who has been administering Papa's estate and acting as sole trustee to mother's living trust.  The email said that she is working to get everything valued, sold, straightened out and 'divided up' amongst us.  One of the items that she has to deal with is mother's jewelry.  Mother loved jewels, and my talented artist Papa loved to indulge her.  She had many splendid pieces that he designed and had made for her gifts each year.  My sister has them all photographed, appraised, and insured.  She wants to be sure each sister receives at least one favorite piece from the collection, and Mother would never make any decisions as to who gets what.  Except for one piece.  She said to my sister "Robyn gets the opal."

And that broke open my stubborn heart and let me cry for the Mother I knew as a very young girl - before she turned mean and hateful.  See, when I was born I was not healthy.  I was premature, and some somethings just didn't work right.  I was deadly sick till I was a little over 8 years old.  Mother took me to many many doctors, but in the time and place where we lived nobody could figure out what it was that wasn't working, and I just kept getting sicker.  Mother had a huge opal ring on her right hand - I would watch the light play through that ring for hours and hours.  I called it The Faerie Ring because I knew I could see faeries dancing in there.  Tiny beautiful delicate creatures;  they danced in the sunbeams going through the stone.  Sometimes when the procedures I had to undergo were horrible she would let me hold that hand and watch the faeries dancing.  I dearly loved that magical ring.  Robyn gets the opal. In that little sentence is all the stunning agony of being her daughter, and knowing that she too remembered the little hurting girl who loved the faeries.  I love you Mother.