I’m 66 years old, and I am crawling around on the floor underneath our group table, strobe lighting pulsing into my eyeballs, loud noises feeding my waves of panic. I had hoped tonight would lift my spirits.
This week the death of one of my students
A memory of a happier crawling occasion twenty-six years ago flashed through my mind; Of when I’d begun dating my husband, we were attending a function.
Being the life of the party, I’d crawled along the floor under the tables, encouraging others to live it up a little.
Now here I am, at this glitzy glamour event desperately scrabbling around on the floor, my husband beside me, his iPhone torchlight swooping the carpet.
‘It’ll be a miracle if we find it Mary’ he says
It’s gone, my Bespoke earring.
It’s as if the one remaining earring weighs heavier on my earlobe, pining for its partner.
Soon everyone at the table is helping us search too.
I am fighting irrational waves of panic and tears, I can’t understand why I’m reacting this way, but I’ve simply got to find that GODDAM BESPOKE EARRING, I’m angry now.
I’d bought them in a little boutique shop in Parnell, three years ago.
The eager shop assistant had told me they were bespoke, and I had to ask what bespoke meant. I wanted to look good as Mother of the Bride at my youngest daughters upcoming wedding, and I felt torn.
How does one celebrate one daughter and mourn the other at the same time?
Our eldest daughter (my Stepdaughter) was in the final terminal stage of brain cancer. She died on her father’s birthday.
The funeral and the wedding were a week apart.
And now here I am frantically patting the floor refusing to give up, panicking over an earring. A BESPOKE EARRING.
Eventually, we stop searching and head home.
I have no control, I couldn’t help my young student, and I couldn’t heal my stepdaughter’s cancer. I don’t get to decide when grief appears or in which form it takes. My heart will grieve when it wants to.
The next morning before church my husband ever the optimist, this man who has grieved his daughter without losing faith in God, goes back to the venue for one last look, and there it is, he walks straight up to it, my earring. Small, shaped just like the teardrops I’ve cried, glinting on the floor. A cleaning crew is vacuuming around it.
As I sit in church, the church where we held our daughter’s funeral, I’m searching for comfort and strength, I decide that even though I have no control, I’m going to ask questions.
“Look, God, I’m delighted to have my bespoke earring back, it seems you can find an earring in a haystack. But where was the miracle cure for brain cancer we prayed so hard for”?
I look over at my husband and think about the loss he has suffered, and somehow it seems right that this man found the earring that carries so much significance, it holds the memory of the time when we grieved one child and celebrated another.
Written by Anna for her Mother Mary and Stepfather David.