A Diamond Ring, a Dog Saved, a Promise Kept

A Diamond Ring, a Dog Saved, a Promise KeptOn my 50th birthday I was presented with a little green box that could only contain something small and possibly expensive, like jewelry. Inside was a sparkly diamond in a platinum setting. I was surprised, to say the least, because the ring came from my mother.

Included in the box was a handwritten note:

My mother gave this to me, and now I give it to you with love.

Like puppies, it comes with papers. You can separate it, change it, whatever you want. May it give you happiness and joy and even a comfort feeling.

Much love,

Mom

The note moved me. My beloved chocolate lab, Java, had come with his own set of pedigreed papers, so the puppy comment got to me, as did her unusual wording about the ring giving me “a comfort feeling.”

“I think I wore it once,” my mom said. “It just stayed in my drawer. But I want you to have it now. Think of it as a little security.”

I knew nothing about diamonds, but if I’d wanted one, this would be quite a rock to own (1.96 carats, I’d soon learn). But I didn’t want one. I couldn’t have cared less about sporting one on my finger.

She handed me the “papers,” an appraisal stating the ring’s estimated value: $17,500. Images of what I could do with 17K flashed before me: a tropical vacation; expensive clothes, the kind I never bought; a down payment on a new car.

I knew nothing about diamonds, but if I’d wanted one, this would be quite a rock to own (1.96 carats, I’d soon learn). But I didn’t want one. I couldn’t have cared less about sporting one on my finger.

My mom, her blue eyes shining, waited for my reaction.

I tried the ring on. It glistened and caught the light just so. It was lovely.

“Wow,” I said stupidly. “Thanks, Mom.”

But I felt like an impostor. I was more hiking boots and silver bangles than Tiffany rings and Manolo heels. Plus the rock was too big for my small hand. I know, I know. Most women would shout, “There’s no such thing as a diamond that’s too big!” But it was, to me. I tried to envision wearing it, but I couldn’t.

When I showed the ring to my girlfriends, they said, “It’s gorgeous! You should wear it!”

I had long ago decided that if I ever married, I wouldn’t want a diamond ring. My boyfriend and I were happy together, but neither of us wanted to get married then. Though diamonds aren’t my style, this one was a gift from my mom via my long-gone Grandma Lillian—a woman who loved to dress up for any occasion, a stylish hat always atop her head—so a sentimental tug made me keep it tucked away in its drawer rather than cash it in.

I periodically checked to see that the ring was still where I’d stashed it. Java would be lying on the bed with me while I’d try it on. I held my hand out for him to see. “What do you think, J-dog? What should I do with it?” He’d roll over on his back and kick his legs up, waiting for a tummy rub, and I gladly complied.

Clearly, the ring was not going out on the town anytime soon. So I investigated selling it. I read up on diamonds: cut (mine was “brilliant”), color (“G”), clarity (“SI 1”). Finally, I went to Manhattan’s diamond district and talked to numerous jewelers.

“This diamond has flaws,” one pointed out.

“The color is good, but the clarity isn’t perfect,” said another.

One morning nine months later, Java wouldn’t eat his breakfast. He was lying on the floor, listless. I took him to the vet, who did bloodwork. The diagnosis: hepatitis. Java was very sick.

I went from feeling that I had a gorgeous ring and a small fortune to feeling I was lugging around a dated, imperfect rock I’d have trouble unloading.

I decided to keep it safe in its drawer under my undies. It was a relief to do nothing.

One morning nine months later, Java wouldn’t eat his breakfast. He was lying on the floor, listless. I took him to the vet, who did bloodwork. The diagnosis: hepatitis. Java was very sick.

I rushed him to a special animal hospital in Manhattan. The days merged together. He wasn’t improving, and I feared I might have to put him to sleep.

But the next day the vet said, “His bilirubin level is up. Let’s give it a few more hours.” Slowly Java began to improve until finally he was released. The cost of his hospital stay was…well, just think nine days at that tropical resort, first-class.

Back home Java greeted me at the door—hopping back and forth, thrilled to see me as usual. He was going to make a full recovery. I was bursting with gratitude, happiness, and joy. A comfort feeling.

Back home I found Charlie, a local jeweler. He was much nicer than the guys on 47th Street. He put the ring on his pinkie while he talked to me, which looked funny. “Nice. Very nice,” he said as he examined the ring under a microscope-like machine. He gave me an estimate. It wouldn’t cover the entire cost of Java’s hospital stay and meds, not by a long shot, but it was more than the city jewelers had offered and I really needed the help.

As I walked out of the store, I was surprised when my eyes teared up. A piece of my family history was gone, and so was my brief fantasy of the diamond life I didn’t really want anyway.

Back home Java greeted me at the door—hopping back and forth, thrilled to see me as usual. He was going to make a full recovery. I was bursting with gratitude, happiness, and joy.

A comfort feeling.

Click here to see Rose’s tips for healthy and happy relationships

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2 Comments

  • Brenda
    Posted February 2, 2014 2:06 am 0Likes

    A story right from the heart. Though you may not have the diamond, you’ll always have the memories of the family legacy. And you have Java for more day’s then you would have. Sometimes it takes courage to let go, which you did with the diamond, but the memories will be with you always.

  • Marlene
    Posted February 2, 2014 10:34 am 0Likes

    Thanks, Brenda. You are so right. The memories are to be cherished and I did get three more years with Java.

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