It was by a small miracle that I even found this small piece of my mom’s childhood at all. Last year, while helping to clean out the home of my dear grandparents after their passing the year before, I came across a little acrylic pencil tray filled with a collection of pencils, paper clips and rubber bands, all suspended in a mysterious amber goop. I love a tidy desk drawer, so I was compelled to clean out this little tray and restore its former orderly glory. As I started to run the tray under hot water, a little piece of metal caught my eye. To my surprise, it was a teeny little broken bracelet with a brass charm spelling ‘Julie,’ my mom’s name. I would never have known of its existence had it not been for this serendipitous moment! A precious trinket that once fit around her tiny wrist; to think it could have been overlooked and discarded in just as swift a moment as my decision to repurpose a little piece of plastic…
I knew immediately I wanted to make this piece into a bracelet I could wear. I also had a broken piece of 18kt gold Venetian chain sitting in my jewelry box and took that with the little Julie bracelet to a local jeweler. They measured my wrist and in less than a week, they had added a gold jump ring and clasp to make a truly treasured piece that I could wear every day.
I don’t often share about my mom, and it is out of respect for her privacy. But this bracelet holds special importance for me. For the last several years, she has suffered from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (she was diagnosed in her early 50s). She now lives in a memory care facility. This whole progression is an agony I wish on no family. I have watched her vibrance fade as she is losing her abilities as the days pass. We cannot even have a two-way conversation any longer, yet I can sit with her and still get her to laugh and pull out her off-beat sense of humor. She hears me and understands me, and I know it. I wear this bracelet now so that I will remember everything she was and that she’s not this disease. It’s my reminder to have a compassionate and patient heart, and to practice daily. It’s my reminder of my beautiful mom and her love for her three daughters. It’s my reminder that our health and mortal bodies are fleeting, and to flourish with the time we have. It’s my reminder that only love matters, and with that you have it all.
There are no words to describe how much I love your mom. So glad you have this golden trinket to remind you of that golden lady.