Ms. Bergevin is Clinical Associate Professor, Decker School of Nursing, Binghamton University, Bing-hamton, New York.
Address correspondence to Rita C. Bergevin, RN-BC, MA, CWCN, Clinical Associate Professor, Decker School of Nursing, Binghamton University, PO Box 6000, Binghamton, NY 13902-6000; e-mail: email@example.com.
“Mother, where is your wedding ring?”
With these words, I opened what seemed the greatest emptiness in my mother’s long mourning. My father had died nearly 2 years ago, and Mother had remained in her vast uneasiness that showed in her hygiene, her living arrangement, and the way she answered the phone each time I called: “It is just I here.”
Whether her ring had fallen from her gnarled finger the day before or a week or month ago—she did not seem to know. Yet when I pointed this out to her she became more restless, more despondent, more intent on searching for what separated her from him. Poor Mom. We scoured every room of her home, looking in each lint-filled corner, turning up rugs and dust. At one point I thought of buying a new ring and presenting it to her. Would she even know the difference?
For the next several days, Mother reminisced more fervently about Father—what he most liked to eat, what he watched on television. Most of all she remembered how he would come into their living room and with much aplomb sit grandly in his favorite chair, calling her to sit in his lap, rocking back and forth in each other’s arms, like old days.
The ring was not to be found. It was gone like Father—lost but still bright in memory. Her ring had become oval in shape from the years of her finger moving the crochet needle. Somewhere, sometime it had fallen away and in her dreams continued falling because it had no place to land, no place where love should gather it like a falling star.