True stories of searching for the lost: my keys, my diamond ring and my dearly departed son
We’ve all lost something at one time or another. Here are three vignettes of my searching for the lost.
My Keys – Searching for the Lost
Roughly three decades ago, I locked our door and left to drive to work. As my starting time was later, everyone else had already left for school or work. Sitting in the car, I reached for my purse stored keys. Probing more deeply, I scraped the bottom of each section and pocket. I came up empty handed. No house or car keys were to be found. Was it time to be searching for the lost?
What could I do? Unfortunately, we had not yet thought of a secret place for emergency keys. This was before cell phones. Our nearest neighbor lived a quarter mile down a gravel road. If I walked there, I didn’t know if they’d even be home. I rushed up to our house and tried all the doors to no avail. The only solution that came to me was to break into our own home!
Our “so called” front door was rarely used and had an old multi-paned wooden door. To this day, I do not remember what I used, but I found an object to break one of the small glass panes. Do you know how hard it is to purposely break glass? After multiple tries, I shattered the pane nearest to the inside door knob. Luckily, I could reach the slide locking mechanism on the outer door, turn the knob for the fortunately unlocked inner door and welcome myself into our home! I quickly found some extra keys and made it to work on time.
Arriving home at the end of the day, I tried to fathom where I could have left my keys. The night before I had gotten groceries. That was when I last remembered using them. Long story short, I found them in the freezer! You see, my hands were quite full when I unlocked the door, so I simply dropped my keys into one of the grocery bags. This particular bag only had frozen items, so the entire bag was placed in the freezer! Retracing my steps was what finally reconnected me to my passage to travel and shelter.
My Diamond Ring – Searching for the Lost
My second story of loss involves my diamond wedding ring. Some years after the key incident, I was getting ready for work. For some reason, my wedding ring was not with my other rings. Even though I was fully clothed, I felt naked not wearing that ring. I searched a bit and found nothing, so had to delay further exploration until later. Numerous times during the day, I felt my ring-less finger, pondering where in the world it could be. Could searching for the lost find my ring?
There is probably no one who could guess where I found my ring. Following another careful retracing of my steps, I found the symbol of the love of my life in the refrigerator! You see, the night before I had been preparing my lunch for work. One of the foods was baby carrots. I had taken off my rings to wash before packing my veggies. For some bizarre reason, my wedding ring slid onto the end of the storage bag’s wire twist tie just prior to placing it into the crisper drawer.
The temperature of my strange, inadvertent hiding places reminded me of a guessing game we would play when we were children. If someone was guessing a hiding place of something – a close guess would receive the response of ‘you are hot or warm’. If it was entirely off base, you were cold. At least my newest hiding niche, while still cool, was not frozen solid! It did strike me as slightly humorous that a wedding ring whose diamonds are measured in carats was commingling with the carrots.
Our Son – Searching for the Lost
Now to my third story, the loss of our dearly departed son. Of course, as important as my keys and ring were to find, nothing at all can compare to the loss of a loved one, particularly one’s own child. Losing a child is like a large chunk of one’s own potential breaking off, just as a massive peninsula suddenly (or gradually) eroding into the ocean. It was also as if my kite, which had been battered by the wind of our son’s horrendous illness, had all at once crashed into the ground. Losing a child is losing a link to the future. So many bereavement cards and messages spoke of loss. How could I cope with this loss? Could I retrace my steps through this as well?
In reviewing a very few themes of our son’s life, he was infatuated with mourning doves. Perhaps he considered their coo as soothing. Maybe he liked them because some of them nested around their home. I’ve wondered if he was attracted to mourning doves because they like to spend time with their mate.
Also, he absolutely loved music. One song that stands out to me is Pharrell Williams’ song, “Happy”. Even when our son wasn’t feeling the best, he would be sitting in his living room recliner and finding stereo tunes to play for others. He thrilled in playing “Happy” as his little daughter delighted in dancing to it. I felt joyous when I joined in, too.
After our son had passed the signs started coming. Could these signs help me in searching for the lost? One such time, I had just settled in our front room to contemplate the main topics list for my memoir. As soon as I began reviewing it, a mourning dove landed on a nearby ledge and cooed for a solid six minutes! I took that as confirmation of his approval. When his sister, his dad and I were on a vacation, a store we’d just entered began playing “Happy”. We felt he was with us, making our original foursome again! In regards to signs, awareness and timing are crucial elements.
Sometimes with my former students, I would have a saddened child approach me and reveal that they missed their mommy, daddy or a grandparent. Once in a while, it was simple separation anxiety and the other person would be at home or work while the child was at school. Other times it was because they’d passed. In either case, I would always point to their heart and tell them they were inside, because they loved them so. That generally seemed to satisfy their need.
This third story of loss after finding my keys in the freezer and my ring in the frig led me to listening to my own advice I gave my students. Our loved ones are truly never lost, they always reside in our hearts, the warmest place of all to find and treasure what you may have assumed was lost.