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.


  1. Oh my. This just made me cry. I am so sorry for your loss, even though it is a difficult one. I am so glad that behind the facade she showed you for so long, there was a kernel of love and light and hope for you there.

  2. Robyn, What a beautiful gem in the midst of so much sorrow and pain. To have that opal, and to know she remembered, seems to be just what was needed to break your heart the love. Thank you for directing me here.

  3. Because when the pain comes, the fairies need to be there. :) I am glad she remembered, very glad.

  4. Wow. Your post made me cry. Both for your loss and for the absolute strength and beauty of this post, and yes pain, but I am choosing to focus on the strength and beauty that is you in this story. Sending you many hugs and lots of love. Lots and lots of love. I don't know if there is anything more powerful or profound than writing from your heart. Thank you for sharing this with us Robyn. xox

  5. I am touched by your story and I can relate. I am sending kind thoughts your way, take care.

  6. Thank you to each of you for reading my thoughts and for posting yours. Makes me feel very special :)

  7. Beautiful. Love is so damned complex. If you want, if you ever need, I'll share my Mom. Not practical, I know, but the offer's on the table.

  8. Beautiful...and now when I see opals I shall think of you :~)
    I was given the blessing of time to forgive and forget the childhood I grew up in.. I had time to see them as humans lost in their own see them as they were at their core and not the anger that was on the surface.
    remembering all the laughter
    and releasing all the pain
    heals our hearts

    may the opal fairies dance forever in your heart

  9. wow,
    what gift.
    I stumbled here, by chance
    or design...
    I am never sure as I am a lousy blogger.
    but this touched me. I have known some monster mothers...
    this small gesture made tears come...