A loss leaves a feeling of sadness, of hollowness, like part of you is missing. Not all loss is equal. The deepest loss is of a loved one. My experience has been that this kind of loss hovers, emerging unannounced in tears or depression or anger or grief. By degrees, it becomes “managed.” Special memories, dear memories, of the person begin to surface more often and become something to keep close.
Losing a pet? What can I say? I still feel the aura of my Great Dane (his name was Davidson) sitting beside me right now while I write. He’s content but biding the moments until it’s time to play. I can see him, feel him, although he’s long gone. That old saying, “Pets are people, too,” is so true.
I’m writing about the loss of a thing. I know, I know. It’s only an inanimate object. Perhaps replaceable, perhaps not. Get over it. But, and maybe you’re the same, something given to you or purchased by you can be a reminder of a place you’ve traveled, an event, a person, a moment that is special, and when you wear it or touch it or see it you relive that specialness.
In the photo, I’m wearing earrings my husband gave me. The photo was taken in Oak Glen, California, during the Halloween season. Oak Glen is an apple growing center, a popular place to visit in the fall for apples, apple pie, and cider. It’s always a fun day. The earrings are a favorite. They’re for pierced ears – 14K gold with small diamonds.
The earrings were purchased in San Juan Capistrano, California, over two decades ago, maybe closer to three. My husband Tony and I were wandering the stores of the mission town on a clear day in late fall and went into Zia Jewelry to admire the Native American Art and the artistry of the jewelry. In a small, free-standing glass display case were the earrings. They were arranged with a pendant and a bracelet, both of gold, on black velvet, the only case with traditional style jewelry. I remarked how pretty and subtle the earrings were. My husband, a traditional kind of guy, asked if I would like them. “Early Christmas,” was his comment. Well, did I say no? Of course not.
Last week as I did a series of runs connected to the daily business of living, I wore the earrings. In fact, I wore them often. Somewhere between USA Gas, Walgreen’s, Costco, and Trader Joe’s, I lost one but didn’t know it. Later that evening while watching TV, I decided to take the earrings off and discovered I had but one. What followed was a flurry of activity: an immediate search of the car, my clothing, my purse, and my traffic pattern in the house. The earring did not turn up. I kept picturing it crushed at the gas station or under the shelves at Walgreen’s or in someone’s pocket. I was so sad, Tony and I retraced my route, but no one had turned in an earring. I’ll never know. All I know is … I have but one.
I know it’s not the loss of a person or a pet or a limb, but I feel a loss, like a small piece of me is missing. I remember the sweetness of that moment in San Juan Capistrano, Tony’s touch on my hand. Wearing the earrings always made that memory tangible and palpable. When I would put them on, I’d feel a warmness, a closeness, the softness of a special point in time.
The single earring is safe in my jewelry box, evidence of a day I want always to remember.
So sorry. I know how that feels. It really is a loss.
Yes, it just is. Even if they were replaced with a new pair, it wouldn’t be the same.
What an elegant and poignant story. Have you considered making a pendant out of the earing?
The loss is so new, I haven’t had a chance to think about the earring that’s left. You gave me a good idea to explore.
Dear Carol, you wrote so well that I feel your pain. Put a picture of the earring in the paper, on Facebook, etc., maybe it will return to you. And say a prayer to Saint Anthony the patron saint of lost things. Asking him for help works for me every time. Good luck!
Thank you, Susan. Appreciate your thoughts and suggestions! I’ve been in touch with St. Anthony!
Few things are not just things… They are indeed a series of memories😘
I like your thought … “a series of memories”!
I could relate it so much
I’m glad the post touched you!
A quick note to say I enjoyed this essay a lot.
Thank you, Neil. There eventually was a happy ending.