Hubby and I recently had our 12.5 year wedding anniversary. Now that is going to sound weird to anyone who isn’t Dutch, so let me explain. The Dutch have the rather quaint habit of celebrating their six-and-a-quarter, twelve-and-a-half, and twenty five year wedding anniversaries. The relevance of these dates escaped me entirely until my husband demonstrated just how important he thought they were in the most perfect way; he presented me with a diamond ring. Suddely 12.5 years assumed a whole new significance!!
Not just any ring either; one from my favorite jewellry designer, Georg Jensen, with three diamonds set in a white gold band. I like to think of the diamonds representing hubby, Niels and Carl, and I absolutely loved the ring the moment I saw it.
So we were talking about loss. Specifically the loss of things. Some things we don’t mind losing too much; a book that was boring, sunglasses that were scratched, a bike key when you know you’ve got a spare. Sometimes losing things is very inconvenient, such as a wallet or a mobile phone. And of course some things are really distressing to lose; your passport when on holiday, the address of an overseas friend….the diamond ring your husband just gave you.
That’s right. I was drinking my first cup of coffee last Friday when I glanced down at my hand and realized my ring was GONE. Disappeared. Vanished. In absentia.
Loss definitely sharpens your focus. Whereas the day up until that moment had been full of life’s background noise, plans of what to do and jobs needing to be done, suddenly all that disappeared as the world turned black and my brain imploded. The sane thing would have been to quietly and discreetly start looking for it. So obviously I immediately yelled “OH MY GOD WHERE’S MY RING??!!!!”, thereby alerting hubby to the fact that (1) I was a wife so careless that I would immediately lose the most expensive piece of jewelry he’s ever given me, and (2) quiet and discreet are clearly not my best character traits.
I won’t bore you with the following scene but you can imagine it. Frantic searching, enforced tidying of any place I had been in the last 24 hours, all made worse by the certain knowledge that this had happened because I had taken the ring off and left it somewhere. It couldn’t have fallen off, the fit was perfect. This was all my fault. I ended up flitting between the three locations in the house I keep hand cream; kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, certain that I must have taken the ring off to moisturize and forgotten to put it on again.
In the afternoon I had to go to work to doa telephone interview with someone in the US and I suddenly remembered: I have hand cream at work! The ring will be at work! It will be sitting on my desk or computer waiting for me!
Pushing visions of cleaners pocketing my ring as they dusted my desk to the deepest recesses of my pooling grey matter I sped into work…to bitterly discover it wasn’t there. Panic was replaced by those other buddies of loss…grief, frustration, and a feeling of literally being sick. My head was pounding, my stomach churning, and it seemed entirely possible I might cry. Pulling myself together I grabbed by digital recorder and sat down for the interview, trying to focus on the nuclear energy market instead of my ring, symbol of love and commitment, gone forever. I would like to be able to tell you that I rose above it, that I was able to put the loss of a thing into perspective; nobody was hurt, worse things happen, it could be replaced…but I couldn’t. A wise colleague who listened while managing to look both sympathetic and appalled (not easy) sagely suggested I go through yesterdays events backwards until I found the ring.
Hubby called to see if I’d found it, and about then I realised that sooner or later your body runs out of adrenalin and a good cry seems like the best option.
I slouched home to find he’d searched the house without success, but he was still putting on a brave face. I probably looked as bad as I felt so he kindly decided not to say anything. Remembering my colleagues advice I went up to the bedroom, pulled the covers off the bed (again), and was about to resume the search somewhere else when I thought to lift up the mattress...and there it was. Having left it on my pillow or the duvet the night before, the ring had slipped down between the mattresses. Relief, joy, more tears....and happiness that I won't have to wait another 12.5 years to wear a diamond ring on my right hand. Few feelings in life are as sweet as having rediscovered something loved, lost...and then found again.