What’s better than an emerald ring?

For as long as I can remember, but not really these past twenty years, we’ve always been told that one day, dad would get my mum an emerald ring. I don’t think it was ever a serious request, but the notion hung around many’s an after-dinner discussion. Maybe one day, mum had seen an emerald ring and mentioned it to dad. Maybe not, but somehow the thought of it stuck.

This Monday, they will be fifty years married. A good time for that notion to be realised you would think. But here’s the thing- mum does not want a ring any more. These days she would give all she had to be in her favourite place, Donegal. And to be well.

It’s funny (not really) how life’s hard knocks can change what we see as important. How loss forces us to hold on tightly to the things or people we always took for granted before.

It is so hard to accept our new life when we desperately wish for the old one. The way I cope with the sadness I feel about my own illness is to look at the jewels close by me, and be thankful. I saw a photo of me with my children in the sea last summer. We’re not splashing around like ‘normal’ people. If you look closely you’ll see my two children each holding one of my hands to stop me from falling. If you could listen, you’d hear them encouraging me to keep walking. That for me was the best chain I could ever wish for.

Tomorrow we’ll do a zoom call with my parents and if you ask mum then, I am certain she would tell you that looking at all her children and grandchildren is much more precious than any old emerald ring.

And me? I’m letting go of all my dreams of diamonds now, and revelling in the ones I already have.

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