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Tiger's Eye: The Ring

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Dec. 15th, 2006 | 05:13 am

[x-posted from elsewhere]

My father always wore two rings; I can't recall ever seeing him ring-less. One was his wedding band, the other a beautiful tiger's eye ring.

When he died, I wanted the tiger's eye ring to be passed to me. I didn't (and still don't) care about any monetary value it might or might not have - to me it is worth so much more than that. It's priceless.
I wanted to keep it, possibly putting it on a chain so I could wear it around my neck. It would be a way of keeping a part of him always near me. Obviously he's always with me in spirit, but the ring is something tangible and so definitely his.

I don't remember exactly how this went down because I was still in shock over losing him. I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but in case I haven't: His death was like a nuclear bomb, almost completely obliterating the events right before and after it from my memory.
So this part of the story is taken more from my sister's than mine.

Apparently I didn't tell anyone I wanted the ring. Why would I? Why the hell would I be thinking of and/or speaking about his possessions at a time like that? The most I can pull from my memory is vague - possibly forming this idea when me, Mom and my aunt (from my mother's side) were in the funeral home making arrangements and we were talking about what he'd wear in the casket. Or maybe it was after the funeral, when the director gave his personal effects back to us and Jennifer was here. I'm not sure. And I guess it doesn't really matter.

At some point I discovered Mom was giving or had already given the ring to Jenn. From the way she tells it, I went ballistic. That sounds right, I'm sure I did.
"You're giving that ring to her?! I can't believe you're giving her that ring!"  Hysterics and words to that effect. You get the gist.
She wanted it for the same reasons as I. The detail that altered her wish from mine: she was returning to L.A. and wanted to have something of Dad's out there with her.

While I understood this, I suspected her of, well, losing things. On the other hand is me, someone who cannot throw anything away, someone who may "lose" stuff in her room, but a precious item misplaced in the blue cell means it can be found again. This ring is irreplaceable. If she lost it, that would be it - gone, daddy, gone. I don't know if I said this aloud. I might have just being carrying on about her getting the ring.

The extreme vocal protests upset my mother. She didn't want this to become an issue between me and Jenn, a problem that we'd continue to fight about. It was also leaning toward being another "jewelry incident", and believe me, we don't want one of those. Yet another vague recollection: me bringing up a previous jewelry incident. (There are a few - very basic - parallels*)

I don't know how the argument ended. Me telling her to take the ring to avoid another incident? If yes, did I use a bitter tone of voice to invoke guilt or just bitterness in general?
Was it the other way around? Her telling me to take the ring? Probably not.
However it happened, she "claimed" the ring and had a much better reason for being the one to keep it.

This is where the fractured memories all come together in a way that don't complete the picture in a logical, easy-to-explain-it-away fashion.

  • I remember Mom telling me she was going to take the ring back and keep it herself. (To avoid unnecessary drama.)
  • Mom does not remember saying this.
  • Jennifer was not present when she said it. Nor does she recall hearing about such an arrangement.
  • Jenn remembers putting it in her purse, taking it on the plane... and LOSING IT ON THE PLANE.
  • She's been racked with guilt ever since.
  • I don't remember feeling upset about her losing it. In fact, I don't even remember her telling us she lost it. I think I'd remember that, don't you? Even if I hadn't earlier suspected her, the loss of such a precious item wouldn't go *poof* from my mind... would it? Perhaps it has. Maybe it was erased or remains temporarily inaccessible from my memory.
  • I'm not alone: Mom doesn't remember the ring getting lost, either.
  • But Jennifer does remember the ring disappearing and calling the house, hysterically telling us she lost it. She doesn't remember anyone telling her that the ring was here, at the house.
It stands to reason that if the ring wasn't with her, one of us would tell her to calm down, it's here, it's safe. Leaving her free from being all twisted up inside about losing it.
However, she still believed it was lost forever... until Monday (12/04/2006).


I was sitting here in front of the computer, probably frittering and wasting the hours in an offhand way. I heard Jennifer get up and start the process of getting ready for work. This pegs the time as 11:50-ish AM.

Suddenly, suddenly, all of a sudden, she comes in here, brandishing a ring with a look on her face I cannot describe.
"Is this Dad's ring?" She was speaking with a tone I am also at a loss in describing. The words were coming out really fast. You have to tell me, is this Dad's ring? Is it? Is this his ring? Does it look like it? My God, you have to tell me...

She went on, explaining why the answer was so important:
Since Dad died, she has not dreamed of him. But the previous night, she had four dreams in a row, all of which were about Dad. All four were basically the same.
Dad coming up the steps, heading into his bedroom while Jennifer was saying something to him like, "Dad, wait. I have to ask you a question." After responding, possibly saying something like "Give me a minute," he would then disappear after going into the bedroom.

In each dream he was wearing different clothing, his dialogue differed a bit, but it always played out the same way - him coming up the stairs, going into the bedroom, then vanishing.

When she woke up and had to get ready for work, she went into Mom and Dad's bedroom to return something she borrowed.
Something caught her eye. Sitting on the dresser, where Dad kept going in the dreams, was the tiger's eye ring. It was just there.

And that's when Jenn came running in here, asking me if it was his ring. It sort of looked like it, but it was hard to tell because he was always wearing it. The only time she or I had held it (at least recently enough to remember) was right after he died.
We inspected it closely. It was far too big to be Mom's, or any other lady's ring. What are the odds that we would have two rings with the same features, anyway?

One of the first things I asked when she came to me: "Is this The Happy Death Cross?" By that I meant, is this Dad's version of THDC?**

I immediately began looking for photographs of him so we could compare the ring we were now looking at to the one on his hand.


And of course, every single readily available picture had his right
hand obfuscated in some way. The one photograph I have of him on the computer that actually features his right hand is blurry.
Jennifer had to go to work soon. We were
pressed for time and couldn't go through other pictures to do further comparisons. We kept looking at this ring from various angles.

We would have to ask Mom to be sure that this was, indeed, his tiger's eye ring and not some other ring that just happened to look like it. We discussed some of the things in the bulleted list above.

I put it on the dresser that's in here and told Jenn to step back.
That's got to be his ring, look at it from the distance we'd normally
see it. It's definitely his, isn't it? 

Was this really his ring? Did Jenn lose it on the plane? Or did she not lose it, like she thought?

Jenn had to go to work and I had to wait for Mom to come home so I could ask her about this. I was almost certain she would tell me she had taken it away from Jennifer to keep us from fighting about it.

Instead, she hit me with a shocker.
She doesn't know where it came from. It was just there. Unexpectedly and without any explanation. Just there.
But how did it get there?

Did he bring it back?
Or had he
come to Jennifer in dreams just to show her where it was?

Whether he brought it back or not is something none of us can verify. But having those dreams, then his ring showing up on the dresser out of the blue are facts I cannot ignore. It's too big to be a simple coincidence.
I believe the second option I presented is true. I believe he was showing Jenn where to find it. Possibly to ease her mind, maybe to give us all a sign or both... Maybe I just want to believe...

When I told my mother I suspected this could be The Happy Death Cross sign I've been hoping for, she told me I sounded like the nuts on my father's side of the family. Well, yeah. I'm a nut, and I'm certain a large portion of that comes from the DNA I share with them. Let's not forget the exposure I've had to these people for most of my life. In fairness to the lunatics on Dad's side, I have to point out that Mom's side is chock full o' nuts, too. And a lot of my insanity is of my own making.

Craziness aside, this whole ring incident is awesome. Awesome as in, I am in awe.
It would be different if Mom said she had it all along. But no, she doesn't know how it ended up on the dresser.
She's not a believer in things of a supernatural(?) or ghostly(?) nature. She likes her sci-fi to remain on the TV screen. She's also not the type to make something like that up. (Trust me, I grilled her extensively about this.)

The ring has been authenticated.
It is without question the ring my father always wore on his right hand.

Now I am left to wonder:
Is this the sign I've been waiting for?
Is my father in heaven?

One last note: My sister wrote about this in her journal. To avoid "contaminating" my written account of these events, I have yet to read her post. I shall do that now that I've posted this.

*After asking if I could have it, an elder gave a ring to someone else.
**The Happy Death Cross is a part of family mythology (on Dad's side).

grabbing hands | to put it in words, to write it down |

Comments {3}

Daniel

(no subject)

from: roythesnake
date: Dec. 15th, 2006 12:26 pm (UTC)
grabbing hands

Wow... I'll tell you, despite being a skeptic, I've had personal experience with dreams and death, and I do think there may be some connection between our dreams and a spirit world. I would lean more toward the idea that your father was showing your sister where the ring was, but that's just my opinion.

What struck me most about this whole thing, though, was that the only ring I've ever seen my dad wear was a tiger's eye ring, and that's always been a significant stone for me. When my dad first moved here to South Carolina, the first gift he got me was a tiger's eye carved into an eagle, put on a necklace. Why am I telling you this? I dunno, I guess to say that I get it.

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she's turning blue

(no subject)

from: echo_la_lia
date: Jan. 2nd, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
grabbing hands

As tempting as it is to believe that he could somehow physically move things, it seems more like wishful thinking on my part. I suspect Mom took the ring from Jenn without telling her and doesn't remember doing it. All of us were in shock and reeling from this huge loss... And if Mom kept it, that explains why Jenn would think she still had it, discover it was missing and then come to believe she lost it on the plane.
So yes, I think he came to her in dreams to show her where it was.

And obviously, that stone is significant for me, too.
Your dad giving you one carved into an eagle reminds me of a funny time with my dad.
My sister told him she was going to get a tattoo. He responded by "threatening" (quotes because it was meant to be silly) to get a huge American Eagle across his chest. It became a running joke every time tattoos were brought up.

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Manda, a peculiar woman

(no subject)

from: just_here
date: Dec. 15th, 2006 02:47 pm (UTC)
grabbing hands

In response to the beginning of the post - Death can make you crazy. More accurately, grief can make you crazy. But you know this...

What an amazing event. I've had far too many brushes with 'unusual' happenings, so I'm not going to discount you. I'm glad you both have the ring back.

Weirdly enough, I've been re-reading The Lord of the Rings.

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