“Birthstones. Deathstones”

Writing class assignment for the prompt “gift”.

Many husbands like to buy gifts of jewelry for their wives.  Nothing remarkable about that, right?  I may be biased, but here’s a lovely story about my husband and two such gifts to me

The first gift took place when my son Alex was leaving for college.  That time is an emotionally fraught time for so many of us; it certainly was for me.  I was full of conflict that September so many years ago, and very sad.  I wanted to project confidence and enthusiasm and happiness.  I was not confident and enthusiastic and happy, and I have come to know that Alex was not either.  

But both of us put on a façade.  Unconsciously, I think now, we were modeling such qualities for each other, perhaps to convince ourselves, like that cliché of “whistling past the graveyard” that all would be well.  An additional factor for me (not for him, though) was that Alex’s 18th birthday would coincide with his departure.  The outside world, our culture, would see him as an adult, but he was still my little boy.  As I said, I was conflicted and sad.

Into this morass stepped my husband John.  For Alex’s birthday, John gave me a gift:  a pair of stud earrings, small textured balls of white gold imbedded with tiny tiny tiny sapphires — Alex’s September birthstone; nine in each earring.  

Need I say more?  I wear the earrings often.  I’m wearing them today!  See?  They are so discrete, yet they convey a powerful and very personal message.  They bring me back to a very tricky time, yet they free me to reflect on where I am now, where Alex is and where we are.  

As you see me wearing these earrings today, you can also see an additional earring — another stud featuring a precious stone, this time a small emerald.  And that’s the second gift.

When Dad died seven years ago, I was shipwrecked.  It was no surprise that he had died– age 90, so frail — but still, it was utterly shocking to me.  I grieved mightily.  One day, when I felt at rock-bottom in my loss, John gave me a gift … out of the blue … a very simple pair of emerald earrings, the emerald being Dad’s May birthstone.  The tears I wept over this gift were tears of joy.  They began to wash away the bitter tears that had been threatening to drown me. 

I often wear the sapphires and one emerald, or the two emeralds and one sapphire.  Having three ear piercings gives me a lot of freedom!  And it’s fun to have my son and my father with me.

And sometimes I go wild with one emerald and one sapphire and one amethyst, this last from the pair of studs that I bought as a gift to myself many years ago, at another very trying time in my life.  Not only is the amethyst my February birthstone, it’s Dad’s deathstone, if you know what I mean.  

Hmmmm.  What do you think about the concept of a deathstone?