I don’t know… I think because it empowered me, that the time I painted the entire outside of my parents’ house, I wore the heirloom rose gold and diamond ring that had been passed down through women in my family for generations.
I was in college at the time and took on this painting job to earn extra money. I remember gazing upon it transfixed as it glistened in the sunlight as I was standing on a very tall ladder outside my parents’ bedroom window – paintbrush in hand. My mother had given me the ring when I was 12 on the condition that until I was 18, I was only allowed to wear it on special occasions. My grandmother had given it to my mother when she was 12. And so it had gone through generations in my family.
The fateful evening came years later when I had left home and was one night rushing to see a performance in Symphony Hall. In my hurried walk, I did not notice when the cherished ring slipped off my finger.
When I looked at my hand once in my seat in the hall, my heart sunk as the horrible sensation of pure fear and dread came over me.
There are truly no words to adequately describe the numb devastation I felt in my shame.
It was much more than a beautiful rare piece of jewelry. It was a connecting thread amongst women in my family all the way back to the homelands of France and it had been there for every celebration and memorable event for generations…
I had lost the family heirloom. All the generations of women passing down the ring to daughters at age 12 had ended – with me.