I’ve never been a believer in talismans. You can keep your rabbit’s foot and lucky penny.
I shake my head when a pro baseball player feels compelled to perform rituals before he bats. Does the tap to the forehead and scratch of the nose really play into his homerun stats? Doubtful.
But I get what people who believe in luck are trying to tap into—that sweet spot where you’re in the zone. Where chance smiles upon you. Where you are shown unseen, but felt, support for whatever endeavor you’re undertaking. Winning at the roulette table. Hitting a homerun.
Making it through the week.
That last one has little to do with luck, as we all know. And no lucky penny will see you through.
But, if I’m totally honest, I do have a talisman or two. I turn to them in times of need and they never fail to let me down.
I just don’t believe they have anything to do with luck.
My father wore only one ring other than his wedding ring. The gems in it were taken from an antique tie tack. It was a ring that surprised me. My father was not a gem kind of guy. His plain gold wedding band, absent of any decoration, was more like him. But, for some reason, he loved this sapphire and diamond ring. Wore it proudly.
Before he died, he gave the ring to my boys. It was his way, I think, of making up for time they would not have with him that his other grandkids did have. I came late in my father’s life, my kids later in mine. They didn’t have much time together. He wanted a reminder for them of his love, possibly his existence.
The ring is kept in a safe because it means so much to me. I don’t want it lost before the boys become old enough to appreciate it.
I found myself, last week, in front of that safe, putting on my father’s ring. I stood there, tears in my eyes, just feeling it on my finger. Knowing he was the last one to wear it. And hoping against hope that some of his love, his energy, would come to me through the ring.
Sounds crazy to some of you, I’m sure. My dad was a tough old bird—he’d been through a lot of storms in his life—and he weathered them all. At the end, he still had a belly laugh and a sincere appreciation for his family. I needed that strength. I needed that humor. I needed that sense of gratitude in the midst of a rough week. So, yes, the ring was the closest I could come to him. And wearing it was comforting and sad at the same time. It wasn’t him. Not even close. But, it was a reminder of his love.
It worked. I only stood there for a few minutes, I’m sure. Just remembering. Asking for his help with my challenge. And it was enough of a respite to get me through a tough afternoon and evening.
Before we knew my mother was dying, my children bought her a ring. A gaudy thing. Gold beads cover it. But, it is beautiful, because they saw her this way, I think. Shiny. Pretty.
They gave her this ring in the hospital. She tried it on for them but never got to wear it. I somehow felt that meant the mantle passed to me. It was probably the last piece of jewelry she wore (even if only for a few seconds), other than her wedding ring.
I wore this beaded bauble to my divorce mediation. To tough therapy appointments in which my kids tried to work through their pain over all the losses in their lives. On my first Christmas Day alone, when my kids were with their father.
Is it even close to hearing my mother give me advice (which I usually did not want) in her calm, even tones? No. But, it is a reminder that I once had that in my life. That I carry the love and wisdom shared within me now, and that’s where I need to go to find it.
Random talismans I have neither time for nor need of. But objects that embody love, which remind us of what we carry inside of us, of those that have come before us—these I embrace.
So if you, like me, have lost loved ones and struggle a bit this holiday season, find your own talismans. I hope you have some. I, for one, will be celebrating with a gold bauble on. And I’ll wear it proudly.