I decided to start my giveaway with a small but very big gift: the eternity ring my father gave to my mother for their 25th wedding anniversary.
As we have been reminded by Tolkien’s wonderfully creepy Gollum, rings can be very precious and very powerful. Over the centuries and across cultures, they have come to represent such mighty concepts as loyalty, unity and eternity. This ring meant all of these things to my mother. Originally from Tehran, she had journeyed to England when she was just 18 to study English, and it was there that she met my Scottish father. They married when she was 20, and she was with him until her last breath on her 51st birthday. I have no doubt that if she hadn’t been afflicted with leukemia, they would still be together today. A day or two before she died, my sister Roshan and I sat with her on her bed and she sorted through her jewelry, sharing her treasures between us, with our brother Alan and Dad looking on. Mum was the most modest of women so had few items of great financial value, but each had meaning: a stone necklace from India where she and Dad had lived for 4 years (and where I was born), a silver brooch from Scotland, where we had lived as a family for over 10 years, an enameled pendant from Canada, another 4-year home. The joy it gave her to share these beloved items with us before she died was very apparent. She didn’t, however, part with her engagement, wedding or eternity rings. She died married to our father.
A few years ago, when I was visiting my father in England, I asked him if Roshan and I could have Mum’s engagement and eternity rings. It took him a few minutes to find them, but he gladly gave me them to bring back to Los Angeles. I kept the eternity ring and insisted Roshan keep the older engagement ring, as they had had a much closer relationship. In the over 20 years since Mum died, both Roshan and I have become more and more like her, especially after becoming mothers ourselves. But Roshan truly shares her beauty, her thoughtfulness, her love of family and her intense loyalty. In the last year or so, Roshan’s world has been shaken by the collapse of her own marriage. As we enter this New Year, she is grieving the second family disintegration of her life and is learning to accept her new journey. As her big sister I try my best to support, mostly by showering her with unsolicited advice (isn’t that what big sisters are for?), and reassuring her that she is wonderful and will be ok. Yet I can never offer her the level of comfort that Mum could have. The best I can do is offer her a ring that reminds her that her mother’s love will be with her forever.