Woodspriestess: Ball Ring

Ball ring June 2013 007
on her hand
and now on mine
hands that will one day

Hands that once held me
hands that I watched
knit, quilt, sew, drive, carry
hold, hug…

Hands are gone
the ring is still here
and really
in their way
the hands are still here too.

The egg that became me June 2013 008
was carried in her body
the circle of life keeps turning
the wheel keeps spinning
and here we are
this is real now.

Ball ring
has been a lot of places
told a lot of stories
seen a lot of things
and it is still here
a reminder
of what has gone before.

Thank you.


My grandma has been on my mind all day today. It has been two months now since she died. Since we always lived far away from each other and thus often went six months without seeing her, it is easy to forget that she’s gone and not at her home in California volunteering at the zoo and working in her sewing room. I dreamed about her last night—nothing significant or easy to remember, it was more like she was at the edges of the dream, smiling from distance. I was aware of her watching us and smiling, but we didn’t talk or interact.

One of my earliest memories of her is of sitting on her lap and playing with a gold ball ring on her finger. I don’t know the story behind that ring, I feel as if I should, but from the time I was a tiny girl she always wore it when she visited her grandchildren and we all liked to play with it. I imagine it was a coincidence that she wore it around a grandchild in the first place, but then it became a thing that she did and that all of us associated with her. When my aunt and mom were going June 2013 005through her jewelry they asked if there was something I wanted and I asked for the ring. Later, my two sisters both mentioned it as well and I feel guilty or selfish for being the one to get it. At this point, I can’t wear it. It makes me feel awful to see it on my own hand. Its hers. It belongs on her hand. The whole reason I wanted it was because it was something that reminds me very concretely of her, but that is the exact same reason that I can’t wear it right now. I hope my own grandchildren will play with it though when I wear it to meet them. It fits on the same finger on my hand that it fit on hers. I sat it on a Hitty’s lap for a while and then ended up putting it into a little shadow box with her on the replica of Hitty’s bench that my dad made for my grandma.

After I recorded the above “poem,” I became obsessed with finding a picture of her wearing the ring, because suddenly I worried that I’d imagined or exaggerated that she always wore it to see us. Indeed, I don’t know if she ever wore at other times, but around the grandchildren, it was a fixture. And, I did readily locate pictures from her eightieth birthday party in which you can see the ring on her hand where it belongs.

Bill's Beach Pix 036

Bill's Beach Pix 038

When we were at Carlsbad beach in California two days before my grandma’s memorial services, I used beach stones to make names in the sand for several people.



Mamoo was our grandma name for her.

After I made her name and took pictures of it, I was thinking about the whole issues of “signs” that people receive from loved ones who die. I’d had some conversations with my mom about it and how we don’t really get any of said signs. I was thinking that perhaps it means the person has no “unfinished business,” or perhaps that the end is the end and there simply are no signs to be had and it is silly to expect any. Right after having these thoughts, I looked down at the M in her name and there was this stone: IMG_7748There was a sign for me after all and I gratefully received it. I held this stone through the two “Mamoorial” services that followed—the committal service I planned and officiated at the chapel where her ashes were placed with my grandfather and then the Celebration of Life luncheon at which I gave a grandchild speech. I felt like I needed to be holding and rubbing this stone in order to carry out those speeches. I later found a companion heart-shaped stone on Moonstone Beach that I saved for my mom.

Categories: death, family, poems, theapoetics, woodspriestess | Leave a comment

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