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I almost threw my mom's engagement ring into her grave. I felt it belonged with her, but now I'm glad I didn't.

Rochelle Newman-Carrasco   

I almost threw my mom's engagement ring into her grave. I felt it belonged with her, but now I'm glad I didn't.
  • My father gave me my mother's engagement ring at her funeral.
  • I wanted to throw it into her grave. My brother stopped me.

My mother adored jewelry and never understood why I, her only daughter, refused to wear any. I wouldn't get my ears pierced and preferred my wrists, neck, and fingers bare.

We did, however, share an interest in fashion. So, I made it a point to find the perfect black dress, hat, and heels to wear to her funeral. Crying in the June heat, my mascara mixing with tears, I watched mourners shoveling dirt into the grave. Suddenly, my father was by my side, taking my hand like when I was little.

He pressed something into my palm and folded my fingers around it, saying, "You should have this."

My dad wanted me to have my mother's ring

When he let go, I glanced down. I immediately recognized my mother's engagement ring. Lying on its side, the platinum band with its pointy diamond seemed lost. Mom was always proud of it and loved getting compliments. Her wedding band had been stolen years prior in a home burglary.

"Sometimes my fingers swell," she explained. "I'll always regret taking it off."

I stared into the crystal-clear gemstone as if a flower was blooming inside. I was mesmerized.

There was a lull in the shoveling, and it got quiet. I walked to the edge of the open graveside and whispered, "I love you Mom," one last time. As if on cue, I caught the sun's rays dancing off the angular surfaces of the sparkling gem.

I really wanted to throw it into her grave

I stood there just long enough to attract my brother's attention. "Are you alright?" he asked. "Do you want to shovel some soil?"

The urge to throw the ring into my mother's grave grew stronger. It felt like it was burning a hole in my palm — like it wanted to be with her.

"Look what Dad gave me," I showed him. "But it really belongs with Mom."

As my arm pulled back, my brother took hold of my elbow. "You don't want to do that."

"Watch me," I thought as I yanked away. Then I paused and took a deep breath. I didn't want to cause a scene or upset anyone. My arm relaxed as I shook off my childish defiance.

The ring came home with me.

I kept it but wasn't sure what to do with it

Aside from my aversion to wearing jewelry, the ring scared me. The diamond stood out, and it looked valuable, so I put it in a safe deposit box.

Locking up the ring always felt wrong. But there it sat, alone where no one could see it, for years.

One day, during a visit with my father, he mentioned their engagement. His memory was slipping, and Dad forgot I had the ring. He thought it had been stolen, too. "All I have left is this," he said, handing me the original receipt from 1953.

I had never thought about his feelings. He'd picked that ring out, slid it onto my mother's finger, and proposed. Dad was 30. His career in aerospace just starting. Mom was 22. They met in New York and moved to Los Angeles, where she died of ovarian cancer at 64 — far too young.

Today it sits on my ring finger — sometimes left, sometimes right. I also wear a ruby and diamond gold band. It's another piece of jewelry I never wanted, but my husband gave it to me while we were dating, and it became my wedding ring when we tied the knot.

While I still don't like how they feel on my skin, I love what these jewels symbolize in my life. And I'm certain my mother would be pleased to see me wearing bling that belonged to her finally.

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