The day after my dad passed away in July, my mom gave each of us kids one of his beloved rings. My dad was such a hard worker all his life, every penny went to providing for us. We knew to appreciate every tiny gift from him because of how much sweat equity he put into it. Plus, he would get so mad if we didn’t take care of our things! Once we moved out of the house as adults, he was able to relax use his extra income to treat himself. Part of that entailed a small collection of custom rings with different types of stones and settings. This one was the brightest of his collection, the stone is a a manly shade of magenta. My mom thought it was perfect for me.
I didn’t care that it was too big, I wore it 24/7. I constantly rubbed my thumb over it, as if doing so would unleash special powers. It did! I think of my dad all the time and fight back the tears by doing good things he would be proud of. Wearing his ring made me feel that even though I couldn’t see him anymore, a little piece of him was still with me.
Three weeks ago I vended at a fun event called Crafeteria at Frances Vintage. It was freezing outside, and my skin became dry and slick. The ring kept sliding down my finger every time I put my hands in my pockets. I made sure to catch it. We sold a lot of merchandise that night, and at one point, I sold a large Chihuahua pillow to a customer and found a big black plastic bag for her to carry it home in.
Right before she left our table, she asked me for a business card in case she wanted to buy a barstool later. I had forgot to bring cards that night, and because I was so relaxed, I had been just told people – “Go to CraftyChica.com” instead of writing down my contact info.
For her, for some reason, I grabbed a piece of paper from my purse and scribbled my number down.
About 30-minutes later I was talking to another vendor, laughing about something, and went to rub my thumb on the ring.
I freaked. We all did. Maya, myself, my sister and her friend. We scoured the entire area for the ring. The vendors next to us were even helping us, taking away from their own customers. The only thing we could think of was the lady with the pillow and the big black bag. Could it be that my ring fell in it? We all went on a foot hunt across the event to look for a lady with a big black bag, but she was no where to be found.
That night I went to bed in tears. I had a dream that my dad scolded me. “Kathy, I spent $800 on that ring and had it for years! You only had it for a few months and you lost it!”
My sister didn’t say much, but I could tell she felt let down too. She was smart and put her ring on a chain, my brother had his re-sized. I was the dork who wore it too big. We kept the ordeal a secret from my family.
Losing my dad was hard enough, but losing this object, made the pain fresh again. The feeling of empowerment on my finger had been replaced with disappointment. Every night I prayed, begged, for that lady to find the ring and call me. I had no way to get in touch with her.
One week went by and nothing. Two weeks, nada. Three weeks came around and I started to accept that it may be gone, even though my gut told me different. My solution was to take one of the vintage cameras he gave me and use some of the small parts to create a new ring. I’m all about seeing the glitter jar half full!
Last week while I was in Fresno, I was talking with the other designers about my drama. I told them how a week before it happened, in the parking lot at the grocery store, I’d seen a $20 bill fall out of man’s pocket right before he hopped in and drove away in his truck. I sent Maya to grab it, and we used it for gas. We should have just left it alone. I know the universe works on debits and credits, especially if you live by the rules of karma like I do. I wondered if that stupid $20 cost me my dad’s ring. My friends/co-workers assured me the two were not connected and that there is no way my dad would be mad at me.
I went to bed that night in the hotel room and finally let it go. I made peace with all of it. I told myself it was an OBJECT. Objects come and go, but the true, lasting gifts are the ones we remember in our minds and feel in our hearts. Those can never be lost.
I went into work the next day and received this voice mail on my phone from a lady with a raspy voice.
“Hi, I bought a chihuahua pillow from you a while back and had a question. Can you please call me?”
I knew it had to be either she wanted the barstool – or she found the ring in the big black bag! Part of me prepared to get an order for a barstool, I mean, what are the chances the ring would actually be in the bag, and if it was, how could she find such a tiny thing in such a vast container? But then…another part of me KNEW the ring would come back to me.
We finally connected and… SHE FOUND THE RING!
She said when she arrived home, she took out the pillow, wadded up the bag, tossed it in the trash and heard a loud “clink”. Curious, she walked over, picked up the bag and searched through it. She found the piece of paper that had my scribbled phone number. She said she knew whatever made the “clink” belonged to me.
After I returned to Phoenix, I met the fabulous Katie when I went to her work in Scottsdale to pick up the ring. Here she is all smiling and glowing! I gave her a gift (worth more than $20 to make up for the $20 bill!) and told her I had sent her a lifetime of good karma!
I got in my car, bowed my head, clutched the ring to my chest and said thank you to my dad and the powers that be. I don’t think he was mad at me for losing the ring, but there is no way, even in the afterlife, that he would let it end up in the trash. I truly believe the “clink” she heard was my dad’s doing. As in “Over here, woman! Come look in this bag!”
It sounds cliché, but it is so true: When you think all hope is lost, there is always room for a little faith. No matter how hard, we have to let those worries go and know we’ve done our best. Whatever happens, we will come through! Life’s lessons come in many forms!
QUESTION: Have you ever experienced something like this? Please, please, please share your story in the comments, I think we could all use happy, uplifting thoughts today!
Tomorrow, some will have picture perfect settings and meals, others may not. Even if you have a funky family, are all alone, stressed about money, gift-giving, having to work, deadlines, or feeling frumpy for any reason, give yourself the gift of being thankful for what you do have.
Close your eyes and KNOW that tomorrow is a new day, things will be brighter, a new year is just around the corner. Practice a random act of kindness to a stranger, spend more time with family members you haven’t seen in a while, try a new dish of food, wave hi to the neighbors across the street, EAT THE DESSERT WITHOUT GUILT!
Most of all love, love, LOVE!