“I think I’m broken,” I told my friend on our ritual morning walk. Two months earlier I delivered a baby that was stillborn, and I didn’t know if I’d ever truly recover. Sure, I had survived the ordeal, but as time wore on I found myself plagued with feelings of failure and self-doubt. If I couldn’t keep my baby alive, what kind of mother am I?
This was my hardest Christmas so far (even though Christmases are usually compared in terms of joyfulness rather than hardness.) We still had boxes to unpack from our move, and decorating the house for the holidays became a low priority. Then the fact that Christmas is all about a baby -- and I had lost mine -- made the season poignantly painful. Singing about the baby Jesus in choir practice was now so emotional I could barely get through a rehearsal without tearing up. And during “Mary, Did You Know?” I usually just had to get up and leave.(“Did you know that your baby ...has walked where angels trod...When you kiss your little baby then you’ve kissed the face of God...this child that you delivered ...this sleeping child you’re holding...”) It was all too much for me.
We spent Christmas in Utah that year. We got there early and Bonnie (my mother-in-law) had already turned our beds down and run baths for the kids. She is a natural nurturer. Just before we went to get ready for bed, she invited us into the family room by the tree and said she had a gift that she wanted me to open early. She handed me a small box, and I imagined maybe a sleep mask...or better yet a bottle of anti-depressants! Instead, what I discovered inside took my breath away. She had taken the diamond from her original wedding band, along with her mother’s wedding diamond, and had them set as pierced earrings. And she wanted me to have them. “I want you to wear them every day and never take them off,” she said. And I never have.
Every day when I look in the mirror I see two diamonds sparkling back at me, symbolizing generations of everlasting love. I see loyalty, honor, commitment. I see the word’s hardest material, symbolizing my own strength and potential. I see eternity.
I couldn’t wait to show them to my friend when we got back to Pasadena. Not for the bling or the glitz. For the symbol. “Maybe,” I pondered aloud, “Maybe I’m not broken after all. Maybe I’m being cut.” She nodded knowingly, like she’d been waiting for me to discover that for myself all along.
That year, and to this day, I’m grateful for a wise mother-in-law who intuitively knew I needed that symbol of eternal love to help heal my broken heart. And I’m grateful for a Father who chose such a loving way to tutor me about my own potential. I’m grateful for a pair of diamonds -- and my own, making it a threesome -- that carry the power of transcendent love, and the whisper and hope of eternity.