My paternal grandmother was the first grandparent I ever lost. Her death was sudden due to a surgeon cutting an artery in her leg during a procedure that caused her to bleed to death. My grandfather was heartbroken and it was all just a shock for all of us. A freak accident. No time to say goodbye or make sure she knew we loved her.
I was pregnant with my first daughter at the time and flew home to Michigan for the funeral. My grandma was about to be a great grandma for the first time to both mine and my sister's babies (due within weeks of each other) and yet, she never officially got that title. It was a hard pill to swallow knowing how excited she was for this new role in her life.
I had a great relationship with all of my grandparents but I had an especially close bond to my father's parents. Some people think it's because they had three sons and then the first grandchild (my older brother) was also a boy. By the time I came around, I was the first girl anyone had had for so long. But I always felt it was deeper than that.
I spent so much time fishing in their pond, sleeping over for sleepovers, having lunch dates at Mcdonalds, and finding every excuse to be with them. They kept rabbits, hermit crabs, and turtles at their house for us to "own" and our family Christmases are something I will never forget. What I loved most is that they were always present. They always took the time to spend quality time with me. They came to every single one of my sporting events and sat through blizzards at times to watch me play. They sat down on the floor and built huge castles out of blocks. They just always wanted to be around.
My grandfather stayed in close contact with us after my grandma's passing. He was thrilled when we welcomed our first daughter, Presley. He doted over her when I would bring her back for visits and he cried when we would say goodbye. He adored Tim, even though at the time we were just boyfriend and girlfriend.
When Presley was 8 months old we found out we were pregnant again. We knew that we wanted to get married but we weren't sure how we would do that. We both had families all over the country. Where do you have a wedding? Which family do we make travel? Can any of our families really afford that? We talked a lot about it and were leaning towards eloping.
I called my grandpa to talk about it, letting him know that we were thinking more seriously about marriage but that Tim hadn't proposed. I explained that if we do do anything, we would probably elope. His voice immediately perked up, "I'm going to send you grandma's ring! Yup, that's what I'll do. She wanted you to have it anyways. She always wanted you to have it. I have to send it to you so Tim can propose. I suppose I should probably be talking to him about this. But you need her ring. I'll send it today!"
The whole ring part of our marriage was never something Tim and I got into detail about. I never wanted him to spend a fortune on a ring. To be honest, I'm not sure what our plan was in regard to that before my grandpa's offering. We were so young and didn't have a ton of money so we more than likely would have just gone to Walmart and bought a super cheap, fake one.
I was never the girl who had these big time wedding dreams or knew exactly the kind of ring I wanted. I couldn't tell you the difference between princess cut and whatever else kinds of cuts there are. I just never cared. None of it was ever important to me nor was spending a ton of money on it all something I ever wanted. I was raised in a privileged world, but once I became a mom I finally found home in simplicity.
Not only will I have a ring, but it will be hers. It will be the one she wore all of those years.
When my grandpa spoke those words of giving me my grandma's ring, I felt an immense sense of peace. It was the closure I was looking for since losing her. It was like her own little gift for me, sent straight from Heaven. That ring was our own little goodbye. It was never something I expected. It was something I never even knew I wanted. I hadn't even thought about what had happened to her ring. I mean, of course my grandpa had kept it. I just assumed he had other plans for it. I could never have predicted that it was always destined for me.
There's just something about family heirlooms, you know? They are so much more precious, so much more meaningful. I think we take better care of things when they first belonged to someone we love so much. They become more important, more special. Those items become a physical thing for us to remember that person by. It serves as a tangible memory.
My grandparents were married for 48 years before my grandma left this world unexpectedly. My grandfather offering her ring was in a way, symbolic of passing the torch. It served them well and now it's our turn to carry on a faithful and loving marriage.
Her ring has a gold band which isn't typically the trend these days. We see a lot of silver and sparkle. But hers is classic. It's just one of those classic looking rings. It also fit on my finger perfectly. I never had to resize it with a jeweler. It was just another sign that I knew it was meant for me.
Her wedding band was lost at some point between her passing away and me getting married. To this day I only wear the one ring. Maybe one day I will be able to design a wedding band to fit masterfully alongside it. But in all honesty, I enjoy just having the one.
Tim and I have been married almost seven years now after eloping to Hawaii. I wore a pale yellow prom dress that cost just over $100. My parents paid for our trip and we were given spending money while we were there. Presley tagged along since she was nine months old. It was honestly the perfect way for us to say "I do".
We have six children now. I often think about how much fun it would be to watch her with them. But with that ring on my finger all of the time, it's always catching my eye as I rub my kids' heads as we snuggle on the couch, or when I'm cooking food on the stove. It's always there to remind that she's still here, too, even if I can't see her. She's still enjoying them, just from a different point of view.