I remember the day my youngest daughter brought it to me, asking me to find a way to put a certain photo inside the locket. I grew up with a mother who was SO talented at putting photos in lockets. I had never done it before, but since her death, I’ve come across lockets that held special meaning for her. One, I recently passed on to my oldest daughter, since it contained a photo of her on one side and a photo of her grandfather on the other.
I walk a fine line every day between the situations I endured and the caretaker role I now have with all my children, especially my youngest. She was lucky enough to not have a memory of what was done to me and my son. I work hard to ensure that, for now, she is not privy to what I went through. All these years after my husband’s death, she misses him dearly and cherishes what memory she has of him. While I lost my father as well, I wasn’t six years old as she was. I had my father a lot longer.
When she was gifted the bracelet, I wasn’t sure how to go about finding a photo that she would like (there are so few as he eschewed almost all attempts at photographs, a sad conclusion for his children) and how to put it in there. With a few clicks of the mouse, I got some great ideas and did my best to wrangle the photo she chose into it. While it took me a lot longer to get to the actual act of finishing it, the look on her face when I presented it to her was just very special.
Watching her cling to the few remaining memories of her father is difficult. I had my father to walk me down the aisle, dance with me at my wedding and all the other things he did over the years. He wasn’t there to let go as she took off on her bicycle without training wheels. When she performed in school productions and recitals, he was already gone. Now that his family has decided to move on without me, she is missing out on holidays and all the connections she could have had with his family, except on rare occasions. She feels it slipping away as she moves through her teens and is so unsure of where these feelings will lead her.
Her trepidation of her declining memories of her father are something I can only listen to, talk to her about and be there for her during. As with all of us who love someone we love, we cannot go through the process for anyone else. We can try to do different things, such as listen, share memories of our own experiences and other caring things to be there for those we love as their move through they own grief process. Grief is so fluid and unforgiving and can wax and wane suddenly, without warning.
So as I memorize the look on her face as she put the bracelet with the locket on, I can only hope that this small piece of metal and paper can help her stay connected as long as she needs.