Diamonds are for ever

When I saw my father, I knew he was dying. So did he. We didn’t talk about it, because we didn’t need to.

It’s always been said that ‘I was my father’s daughter’. A somewhat stupid comment as it was self-evident, but it really meant that I was like him, not just in appearance but in character and attitude.

I could do nothing for him, apart from explain his rights as a patient in hospital, telling him that he didn’t need to consent to investigative procedures or operations if he didn’t want them.

While I visited every day, my attention now had to be on my mother. I visited my father every day to take the burden off my mother. I brought his dirty washing home and took in clean pyjamas. I sat with him while he dozed off.

Back at my mum’s house, I went into town to do the shopping, cooked the meals, and suffered Richard and Judy. Not very well, I might add.

“I’ve got my little girl back,’ said my mother at one point. I groaned. Hopefully inwardly but not necessarily so. I was in my early 40s and had been married at least 15 years.

My parents were a pain in the arse on many occasions, including being physically and verbally abusive.

To be told that I was my mother’s little girl again didn’t go down well. She had become my little girl, I was the one looking after her.

A university friend once said that our relationship with our parents is so strange. We are treated like children for years, there is a brief period where we relate as adults, and then we end up caring for them. I just missed out on the middle bit.

But my mother was also a very generous and loving person in many ways.

One day, after I had made the trudge to hospital in the frozen snow, carrying the linen backwards and forwards, she came up to me with something in her hand.

‘I know you always liked this. I’d like you to have it now.’

It was her mother’s engagement ring. It’s a half eternity ring set with diamonds. My dad could never afford anything so nice so my mother’s ring was just three diamonds, slightly larger than grandma’s ring.

My mother's engagement ring

My mother’s engagement ring

But the classic understated appearance of grandma’s ring had always appealed to me, and tactlessly in my youth, I’d told my mother that I preferred grandma’s ring.

Photo 48

My grandma’s engagement ring

Thirty odd years later, she’d remembered that.

As the sole beneficiary in her will, I would have got the ring anyway, along with all the other jewellery. But that wasn’t the point. She wanted to give it to me as a thank you. For travelling back from Spain. For going to see my dad before he died. For being there to help her. Why would I not? My family was never big on words so she never said any of that, but she didn’t need to.

If diamonds are treasure in a literal sense, the memory of my mother’s gesture at such a poignant time and not long before she too died, is something to treasure for the rest of my life.

Treasure is this week’s WordPress photochallenge.

No I don’t have an engagement ring. I didn’t get engaged. Hell, I have two now!!

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39 comments on “Diamonds are for ever”

  1. Aww K, what a poignant post, you may not realise it, but emotion comes from between every line you’ve written 😦
    It’s probably hitting me more, as at the moment I’m going through the ‘could I have done more’ stage.
    What a beautiful gesture from your mum, acts like that don’t need words.
    Your mums ring is very similar to my mums, three diamonds, but diagonal. I must take a pic.
    I see DT is going down the brown route now, though you’ve got a more pinky brown that P&K 🙂

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    • It didn’t start off like that. But, I have to admit by the time I got to the end, I had wet eyes.

      I thought about you too, and hoped it wouldn’t cause you any more grief, but when I saw treasure this was all I could think of. Once the funeral is over there is a real feeling of nothing. Especially when it is your last parent.

      It meant a lot to me, I don’t know why, it just did.

      haha, yes yet another brown. Four in a row now!

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  2. Really touching, and lovely that you have both rings… especially the provenance of your grandmother’s. Wonderful that you have something that was close to them both and they wore, but carefully it appears, as they look to be in good condition. I like both settings, they are different but classic and elegant.

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    • Thanks ED. My mother would wear them together and her wedding ring which I thought was vastly over the top. I don’t think the two rings go well together. My mother’s looks nice in the picture but actually on my finger, I think it looks too harsh whereas the half-eternity looks so much softer. I’d never buy diamonds but I’m also not inclined to get rid of these for obvious reasons.

      When my mum died, the undertaker asked if we wanted her wedding ring. Partner said no, she’d never taken it off and it didn’t seem right to take it from her in death. I don’t wear mine, and he doesn’t wear his either – bit of a potential hazard working in construction.

      I wear jewellery far less than I used to, but I will wear grandma’s occasionally. Sometimes when I go to the bank! (It’s a snooty bank).

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  3. What a beautiful post Roughseas. It takes a bit of getting used to, this “parent leaving stage”. In contrast to the “everyone’s getting married stage” of our 20’s and 30’s. No doubt you wear your ring well!

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    • Thanks, mbl. Yes, I suppose it is an interesting contrast with the weddings – and the everyone is having children stage too. My mother and my father dying were very different experiences. And maybe it’s different again if you are an only child like I am. When my dad died it was a shock to the system. I coped with going to see him at the funeral parlour, the funeral itself, and the wake afterwards at my mum’s house.

      When my mum died it was a very different experience. I felt my past was truly gone, no more links to it, as though my legs had been cut from under me. And unlike my dad’s death, I didn’t get the same closure. We couldn’t both leave the animals, and Partner had actually gone to see her (to bring her back to live with us ironically) so he did the whole shebang. It’s taken me a lot of years to come to terms with their deaths, but when they are a part of your life for more than 40 years it’s hardly surprising.

      I don’t wear it often but do enjoy wearing it because I still like it as much now as I did back as a small child.

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      • Your mention of your past truly gone, echoed exactly what I’ve said to T.
        I feel like my Yorkshire roots have been severed.

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        • Not so much the Yks roots but my childhood, my past, more than half of my life.

          There’s always another white rose to share your Yks roots with 😉 not the same past, but enough in common to be able to talk about the same places so many years ago.

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          • Of course, your childhood roots were still where your parents were 😦

            My childhood roots were severed when we all moved to the Midlands when I was in my late teens. That hit hard and it took me a good six months before I got over it.
            I even had the Yorkshire Post regularly sent to me by a friend 😳

            As you know my parents move back to Yorkshire, growing new roots in Harrogate, so the only connection with there was through my parents.

            Yes, its good to have another white rose to chat with 🙂

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            • Different scenarios. I moved not them, but they were always there, in the house where I had grown up whether I was at university in Liverpool, travelling around the world, or married and living darn sarf. They moved to between Selby and York when they gave up work, but still Yorkshire, and nice to be near to York, I have to say.

              I know a lot of people who get local papers sent. Mum and dad’s friends who had also moved that way first got the Dewsbury Reporter and passed it on to m&d.

              It’s not just the geographical severance for me though, it was the historical severance with my past that hit me. No-one else left who knew about the market, about our summer holidays in Kilham and Brid, and and and. Although the past was still there, it was like it had been wiped out. When I look at old photos it’s as though it’s nothing to do with me any more. Just pictures from a story book.

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              • Your summer holiday comment is so true. My time spent with my grandparents on the east coast, is now just a distant memory, there are plenty of photos, but nobody to chat with about it 😦

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                • Only child syndrome works two ways. No-one to share the memories with, but the knowledge that you had something precious to you that is very personal. For me it’s not even the need to talk, it’s just that with their deaths, everything I grew up with had gone.

                  With mum dying ten years ago now, it’s very much in the past. I’m more focused on working out a decent will to make sure my dogs/chickens/cockerels are looked after when one or both of us dies. About the only advantage I can see to having children! Sorting out your estate and someone you can (hopefully) trust to leave in charge of your affairs.

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  4. I agree with Vicky — lots of emotion in this post. Love the rings, and the remembrances. Treasures indeed!

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    • Thanks Diana. It was the first thing to come into my mind for treasure. And once there it stuck 😀 Where is your new blog anyway?

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      • hear, hear. the new blog…. any progress reports? no pressure, of course 😀

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        • LOL!! to both of you! I have now spent a good 10 minutes checking the thesaurus for some possible titles of said unestablished blog. so far…

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          • You can start a blog up with any title and then change it. Just get a url and then launch it up as Diana’s blog, post what you are going to make it about and any ideas you have and ask for other suggestions. Easy 🙂 Or ask me or p&k to write about it/link back to ask our readers for any names.

            Someone wrote a book recently for kids, gave his idea of a name and asked if people had other ideas. I (immodestly) can point out that he went with a slight variant on the name I suggested, but tbh it was really just a development of his original idea.

            However if you have thought of a name by now, forget all that 😀

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            • hear, hear. the name is the least of your worries, Diana. you can always come up with something later. the url will not change, however. in rs’ case, her url and blog name are very similar. however mine differ a bit.
               
              either way it works, and i would be happy to post a shot-out for name suggestions too, if you haven’t come up with a name. do let me know as well.
               
              looking forward to it – curious as to which blog theme you will choose, etc etc! happy blogging! 😀

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              • rs is only similar in the case of roughseas. not for every pic or clouds or just landrovers.

                oh and Diana you can have lots of blogs!!

                better be DuoTone if it’s a photoblog 😀

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  5. […] Diamonds are for ever | Every picture tells one […]

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  6. really enjoyed this one, too. what a poignant memory on receiving your grandmother’s engagement ring from your mother.  
    it brought to mind a saying, not sure where it originated, of someone who said they preferred to give with a warm – living – hand rather than with a cold one – after they had passed away, and their property is passed on as a default, the result of an inheritance.

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    • i quite like DT here, too, by the way. a warm colour to match the mood of your post.

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    • Thanks. That’s a nice saying, it reminds me of the one my mother used to use, about gifts. She would say something about if you gave something away that meant nothing to you, the gift had no value. If you gave away something that you liked or treasured, then it was a meaningful gift and was much more generous. But then she had a generous nature anyway.

      I think a dark grey would have been quite interesting, but this serves well enough.

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  7. Loved this post and those are beautiful rings indeed. I can see why you treasure them so much. 😀

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  8. I’ve skipped the comments because I don’t want them to influence my own thoughts. You know, Kate, this is such a beautiful story and you’ve related it so well. You’re mother loved you very much and that was her way of expressing it. I was really touched. The details and the pictures are a perfect fit. Do you wear both rings or just the your grandma’s?

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    • I think it must have been such a difficult time for her. I don’t know if she knew my dad was dying or not, I did, but you don’t work in cancer services for years and not see the obvious. She was quite frail, and had her own health problems, so having him home to look after wasn’t on the cards. She struggled to make the trip to hospital, whether York or Selby. She only went to York a couple of times when the neighbours took her, and went to Selby once on the bus with me which was too much for her, especially in winter, and a couple of times in a taxi, which was £20 back then. Soon gets rid of your pension.

      So me being there took a lot of the burden from her. My dad wasn’t being ignored, and I was looking after her too. I tell you, I felt absolutely drained at the end of it though. When I left, I stopped over in London with some university friends, it was such a relief to get away and into a different environment. Of course, he died after I left, can’t remember if you read the post about him on rs, it’s quite an old one.

      I think she loved her image of what I should have been 😀 A feminist who didn’t take her husband’s name, didn’t have children, thought different politically … the list is endless … but I don’t think it was what she wanted. Trouble with having kids eh? At some point they start to think for themselves.

      I rarely wear either. I’m not really a jewellery person any more. A few pairs of silver earrings so the holes in my ears don’t seal up is about it. If I do, it’s usually grandma’s. My mother’s looks fine in the photo, but I think grandma’s is softer, more elegant and understated. I also think it looks more classy for all those reasons, but that’s a side point. I certainly don’t wear them together. It’s a bit like the adage about a single rose being beautiful, why have a bunch? Not a very good comparison but the best I can come up with at this time in the morning.

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      • You were there when they needed you and counts for more than you could ever imagine.

        Of course you felt drained. It will have taken a lot out of your emotionally (whether you acknowledged it or not) and physically dealing with everything, not to mention the loss that followed…which even though you may have expected, still would have come as a blow.

        Yes I have read your post about him on Rs. I was thinking about it as I read this one and relating the material.

        I think the days are gone when women should feel obliged to take a man’s name just because they are married. Pat took mine, but she’s pretty old school in a lot of ways, but see nothing with women doing what they want. I guess she’s not bothered really…just trudging along in life…she has too many other concerns with her health, I think. I pretty much just go along with whatever she wants…we’re happy enough…had she not wanted a ring, to get married, to take my name…I would have been perfectly fine with it. She did however want me to wear a ring…I’m not a jewelry person, but I didn’t object. I figured, if it makes her feel more secure or whatever reason it’s for, fine by me. Your mom did have a child though, you! 😀

        When I was a teenager, I did the ear-ring thing, necklaces with crosses, wristchain…all silver, never liked gold. I grew out of it.Now, I even rarely wear my watch…just don’t like anything unnecessary on my person.

        Like


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